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Disease models

Dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons from transgenic mice expressing human microtubule-associated protein-t (MAPT; tau; FTDP-17) P301S recapitulate tau pathology in vitro

A cell culture model could be used to study human tau pathology and screen for drugs to treat tauopathies. In cultured DRG neurons isolated from five-month-old transgenic mice expressing human tau P301S, an antibody selective for disease-related conformations of tau reacted with the protein. In the neurons, tau was progressively hyperphosphorylated, and the hyperphosphorylated tau P301S-positive neurons preferentially died in long-term culture. Next steps could include using the model to screen for compounds that prevent neuronal cell death.

SciBX 7(1); doi:10.1038/scibx.2014.34
Published online Jan. 9, 2014

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Mellone, M. et al. J. Neurosci.; published online Nov. 13, 2013;
Contact: Maria Grazia Spillantini, University of Cambridge,
Cambridge, U.K.
Contact: Aviva M. Tolkovsky, same affiliation as above