Tau, a microtubule binding protein, is not only a major component of neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer's disease, but also a causative gene for hereditary frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17). We show here that an FTDP-17 tau mutation (V337M) in SH-SY5Y cells reduces microtubule polymerization, increases voltage-dependent calcium current (ICa) density, and decreases ICa rundown. The reduced rundown of ICa by V337M was significantly inhibited by nifedipine (L-type Ca channel blocker), whereas ω-conotoxin GVIA (N-type Ca channel blocker) showed smaller effects, indicating that tau mutations affect L-type calcium channel activity. The depolarization-induced increase in intracellular calcium was also significantly augmented by the V337M tau mutation. Treatment with a microtubule polymerizing agent (taxol), an adenylyl cyclase inhibitor, or a protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor, counteracted the effects of mutant tau on ICa. Taxol also attenuated the Ca2+ response to depolarization in cells expressing mutant tau. Apoptosis in SH-SY5Y cells induced by serum deprivation was exacerbated by the V337M mutation, and nifedipine, taxol, and a PKA inhibitor significantly protected cells against apoptosis. Our results indicate that a tau mutation which decreases its microtubule-binding ability augments calcium influx by depolymerizing microtubules and activating adenylyl cyclase and PKA.
- Frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience