Tau interacts with SHP2 in neuronal systems and in Alzheimer's disease brains.


Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA [Email]


Microtubule-associated protein tau, an integral component of neurofibrillary tangles, interacts with a variety of signaling molecules. Previously, our laboratory reported that nerve growth factor (NGF)-induced MAPK activation in a PC12-derived cell line was potentiated by tau, with phosphorylation at T231 being required. Therefore, we sought to identify a signaling molecule involved in the NGF-induced Ras-MAPK pathway that interacted with phospho-T231-tau. Here, we report that the protein tyrosine phosphatase SHP2 (also known as PTPN11) interacted with tau, with phospho-T231 significantly enhancing the interaction. By using proximity ligation assays, we found that endogenous tau-SHP2 complexes were present in neuronal cells, where the number of tau-SHP2 complexes significantly increased when the cells were treated with NGF, with phosphorylation at T231 being required for the increase. The interaction did not require microtubule association, and an association between tau and activated SHP2 was also found. Tau-SHP2 complexes were also found in both primary mouse hippocampal cultures and adult mouse brain. Finally, SHP2 levels were upregulated in samples from patients with mild and severe Alzheimer's disease (AD), and the level of tau-SHP2 complexes were increased in AD patient samples. These findings strongly suggest a role for the tau-SHP2 interaction in NGF-stimulated neuronal development and in AD.This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.


Alzheimer's disease,NGF,SHP2,Tau,Tau phosphorylation,

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