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Neuroscience. 2002;115(3):829-37.

Aberrant glycosylation modulates phosphorylation of tau by protein kinase A and dephosphorylation of tau by protein phosphatase 2A and 5.

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Department of Neurochemistry, New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities, , Staten Island, NY 10314, USA.


Microtubule-associated protein tau is abnormally hyperphosphorylated, glycosylated, and aggregated in affected neurons in Alzheimer's disease (AD). We recently found that the aberrant tau glycosylation precedes tau hyperphosphorylation in AD brain. In the present study, we developed assays to determine phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of tau at specific phosphorylation sites by using glycosylated tau purified from AD brain as a substrate. We then studied the effects of the aberrant glycosylation on phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of tau at each specific phosphorylation site. We found that deglycosylation of the aberrantly glycosylated tau decreased the subsequent phosphorylation of tau at Ser214, Ser262, and Ser356 in vitro by protein kinase A. On the other hand, deglycosylation of tau positively modulated the subsequent dephosphorylation by protein phosphatase 2A and protein phosphatase 5 in vitro at the phosphorylation sites Ser198, Ser199, and Ser202. Our results suggest that the aberrant glycosylation may modulate tau protein at a substrate level so that it is easier to be phosphorylated and more difficult to be dephosphorylated at some phosphorylation sites in AD brain. The combined impact of this modulation may be to make tau more susceptible to becoming abnormally hyperphosphorylated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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