Tau protein kinases: involvement in Alzheimer's disease

Ageing Res Rev. 2013 Jan;12(1):289-309. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2012.06.003. Epub 2012 Jun 26.


Tau phosphorylation is regulated by a balance between tau kinase and phosphatase activities. Disruption of this equilibrium was suggested to be at the origin of abnormal tau phosphorylation and thereby might contribute to tau aggregation. Thus, understanding the regulation modes of tau phosphorylation is of high interest in determining the possible causes at the origin of the formation of tau aggregates in order to elaborate protection strategies to cope with these lesions in Alzheimer's disease. Among the possible and specific interventions that reverse tau phosphorylation is the inhibition of certain tau kinases. Here, we extensively reviewed tau protein kinases, their physiological roles and regulation, their involvement in tau phosphorylation and their relevance to AD. We also reviewed the most common inhibitory compounds acting on each tau kinase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / enzymology*
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 / genetics
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proline-Directed Protein Kinases / genetics
  • Proline-Directed Protein Kinases / physiology
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / physiology
  • tau Proteins / genetics
  • tau Proteins / metabolism
  • tau Proteins / physiology*


  • tau Proteins
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Proline-Directed Protein Kinases
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3
  • tau-protein kinase