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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Interaction of neuronal Cdc2-like protein kinase with microtubule-associated protein tau.

Neuronal Cdc2-like protein kinase (NCLK), a approximately 58-kDa heterodimer, was isolated from neuronal microtubules (Ishiguro, K., Takamatsu, M., Tomizawa, K., Omori, A., Takahashi, M., Arioka, M., Uchida, T. and Imahori, K. (1992) J. Biol. Chem. 267, 10897-10901). The biochemical nature of NCLK-microtubule association is not known. In this study we found that NCLK is released from microtubules upon microtubule disassembly as a 450-kDa species. The 450-kDa species is an NCLK.tau complex, and NCLK-bound tau is in a nonphosphorylated state. Tau phosphorylation causes NCLK.tau complex dissociation, and phosphorylated tau does not bind to NCLK. In vitro, the Cdk5 subunit of NCLK binds to the microtubule-binding region of tau and NCLK associates with microtubules only in the presence of tau. Our data indicate that in brain extract NCLK is complexed with tau in a tau phosphorylation-dependent manner and that tau anchors NCLK to microtubules. Recently NCLK has been suggested to be aberrantly activated and to hyperphosphorylate tau in Alzheimer's disease brain (Patrick, G. N., Zukerberg, L., Nikolic, M., de la Monte, S., Dikkes, P, and Tsai, L.-H. (1999) Nature 402, 615-622). Our findings may explain why in Alzheimer's disease NCLK specifically hyperphosphorylates tau, although this kinase has a number of protein substrates in the brain.[1]


  1. Interaction of neuronal Cdc2-like protein kinase with microtubule-associated protein tau. Sobue, K., Agarwal-Mawal, A., Li, W., Sun, W., Miura, Y., Paudel, H.K. J. Biol. Chem. (2000) [Pubmed]
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