While Aβ and tau exert separate modes of toxicity, it is fascinating to see how more and more details are revealed about how these toxic entities interact to impair neuronal functions in dementias.
The new data presented by Lennart Mucke’s team in Science and by the Mandelkows in the Journal of Neuroscience address the fascinating interplay of Aβ and tau, the first study looking into axonal transport, and the second into sorting and morphological changes.
Tau reduction has been shown by the Mucke team in 2007 to rescue, in vivo, from Aβ lethality (Roberson et al., 2007). This was followed by our study this July, identifying the kinase Fyn as a critical mediator in executing Aβ toxicity via tau (Ittner et al., 2010). Reducing Fyn in APP transgenic mice prevents Aβ toxicity, while overexpression enhances it (Chin et al., 2005; Chin et al., 2004).
In the new study, Keith Vossel, Mucke, and colleagues transfected hippocampal neuronal cultures obtained from wild-type and tau-deficient mice with plasmids expressing fluorescent markers of mitochondria or the neurotrophin...