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Understanding Toxic Tau Proteins in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases

Understanding Toxic Tau Proteins

Discover how researchers are unraveling the mysteries behind the accumulation of toxic Tau proteins, which are implicated in neurodegenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. This web story highlights findings from a study published in Molecular Psychiatry.

The Trouble with Tau

Tau protein's crucial role in stabilizing neurons. When Tau forms tangles, it becomes toxic, causing tauopathies. Tauopathies include Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, CTE, and rare genetic conditions.

Key Step in Tau Tangle Formation Identified

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine reveal a critical stage in the development of tau tangles. Targeting this step could potentially prevent brain damage. Study findings published in Molecular Psychiatry.

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RNA Molecules Hold Clues:

Focus on long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) that regulate cellular processes. Historically overlooked, lncRNAs have emerged as key players in disease processes. RNA molecules may offer insights into tauopathies.

Investigating with Human Brain Cells:

Skin cells from individuals with genetic tauopathies used to create brain neurons. CRISPR used to correct mutations for comparison. Study uncovers 15 lncRNAs with significant changes in tau mutation brain cells.

The Standout-SNHG8

SNHG8, a specific lncRNA, is consistently low in tauopathy brain cells and animal models. Tauopathies like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's show reduced SNHG8 levels. SNHG8 may play a role in a common pathological process.

Low SNHG8 levels correlate with high stress granule levels. Stress granules contain tau and can trigger aggregation. Targeting stress-induced protein aggregation may inhibit tau pathology

Stress Granules and Tau Aggregation

Promising Experiment-  Reversing Stress Granules

Reintroducing SNHG8 to human neurons with tau mutations reduces stress granule levels. Demonstrates the impact of lncRNAs on stress granule formation. Potential pathway for treating various tauopathies explored.

Future Steps- Targeting SNHG8 and Animal Models

Researchers working on identifying compounds to boost SNHG8 levels. Studying the effects of these compounds in animal models of tau aggregation and tauopathy. A step closer to understanding and potentially treating Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and related diseases.

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