. Tau Prion Strains Dictate Patterns of Cell Pathology, Progression Rate, and Regional Vulnerability In Vivo. Neuron. 2016 Nov 23;92(4):796-812. Epub 2016 Oct 27 PubMed.

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  1. This is a very exciting paper that reveals even more intriguing insights into the complexity of tau that could well extend to other disease-associated proteins that appear to propagate. The paper expands on the Diamond lab's previous ideas and findings about tau that really start to explain why even the related tauopathies (for example, the 4R tauopathies) show such phenotypic diversity, with clinical symptoms ranging from social/emotional to memory to motoric. Because these studies utilize an in vitro step to generate the tau strains, they do not aim to reproduce the biology of tau forms that we expect exist in the intact brain. The strains should be considered instead as carriers of information that makes them behave differently in vivo and in vitro, which will allow us to address fundamental questions about phenotypic diversity of the tauopathies. To address human relevance, important follow-up studies would include looking more at aspects of cellular and regional vulnerability, functional consequences, and impact on cognitive measures.

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