Tau Protein Hyperphosphorylation and Aggregation in Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Tauopathies, and Possible Neuroprotective Strategies

Goran Šimić*, Mirjana Babić Leko, Selina Wray, Charles Harrington, Ivana Delalle, Nataša Jovanov-Milošević, Danira Bažadona, Luc Buée, Rohan de Silva, Giuseppe Di Giovanni, Claude Wischik, Patrick R. Hof

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Abnormal deposition of misprocessed and aggregated proteins is a common final pathway of most neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD). AD is characterized by the extraneuronal deposition of the amyloid β (Aβ) protein in the form of plaques and the intraneuronal aggregation of the microtubule-associated protein tau in the form of filaments. Based on the biochemically diverse range of pathological tau proteins, a number of approaches have been proposed to develop new potential therapeutics. Here we discuss some of the most promising ones: inhibition of tau phosphorylation, proteolysis and aggregation, promotion of intra- and extracellular tau clearance, and stabilization of microtubules. We also emphasize the need to achieve a full understanding of the biological roles and post-translational modifications of normal tau, as well as the molecular events responsible for selective neuronal vulnerability to tau pathology and its propagation. It is concluded that answering key questions on the relationship between Aβ and tau pathology should lead to a better understanding of the nature of secondary tauopathies, especially AD, and open new therapeutic targets and strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Number of pages27
Issue number1
Early online date6 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by The Croatian Science Foundation grant No. IP-2014-09-9730 (“Tau protein hyperphosphorylation, aggregation, and trans-synaptic transfer in Alzheimer’s disease: cerebrospinal fluid analysis and assessment of potential neuroprotective compounds”) and European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) Action CM1103 (“Stucture-based drug design for diagnosis and treatment of neurological diseases: dissecting and modulating complex function in the monoaminergic systems of the brain”). PRH is supported in part by NIH grant P50 AG005138. We also thank Mate Babić for help in preparation of schematics.


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Amyloid β
  • Microtubules
  • Neurofibrillary degeneration
  • Neuropathology
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein aggregation
  • Protein oligomerization
  • Tau protein
  • Tauopathies


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