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

Cytoskeletal changes in the brains of mice lacking calcineurin A alpha.

Hyperphosphorylated tau, the major component of the paired helical filaments of Alzheimer's disease, was found to accumulate in the brains of mice in which the calcineurin A alpha gene was disrupted [calcineurin A alpha knockout (CNA alpha -/-)]. The hyperphosphorylation involved several sites on tau, especially the Ser396 and/or Ser404 recognized by the PHF-1 monoclonal antibody. The increase in phosphorylated tau content occurred primarily in the mossy fibers of the CNA alpha -/- hippocampus, which contained the highest level of calcineurin in brains of wild-type mice. The CNA alpha -/- mossy fibers also contained less neurofilament protein than normal, although the overall level of neurofilament phosphorylation was unchanged. In the electron microscope, the mossy fibers of CNA alpha -/- mice exhibited abnormalities in their cytoskeleton and a lower neurofilament/microtubule ratio than those of wild-type animals. These findings indicate that hyperphosphorylated tau can accumulate in vivo as a result of reduced calcineurin activity and is accompanied by cytoskeletal changes that are likely to have functional consequences on the affected neurons. The CNA alpha -/- mice were found in a separate study to have deficits in learning and memory that may result in part from the cytoskeletal changes in the hippocampus.[1]


  1. Cytoskeletal changes in the brains of mice lacking calcineurin A alpha. Kayyali, U.S., Zhang, W., Yee, A.G., Seidman, J.G., Potter, H. J. Neurochem. (1997) [Pubmed]
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