Multiple isoforms of human microtubule-associated protein tau: sequences and localization in neurofibrillary tangles of Alzheimer's disease

Neuron. 1989 Oct;3(4):519-26. doi: 10.1016/0896-6273(89)90210-9.


We have determined the sequences of isoforms of human tau protein, which differ from previously reported forms by insertions of 29 or 58 amino acids in the amino-terminal region. Complementary DNA cloning shows that the insertions occur in combination with both three and four tandem repeats. RNAase protection assays indicate that transcripts encoding isoforms with the insertions are expressed in an adult-specific manner. Transcripts encoding four tandem repeats are also expressed in an adult-specific manner, whereas mRNAs encoding three tandem repeats are expressed throughout life, including in fetal brain. The levels of transcripts encoding the 29 or 58 amino acid inserts were not significantly changed in cerebral cortex from patients with Alzheimer's disease. Antisera raised against synthetic peptides corresponding to these different human tau isoforms demonstrate that multiple tau protein isoforms are incorporated into the neurofibrillary tangles of Alzheimer's disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Techniques
  • Isomerism
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / analysis*
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / analysis
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics
  • Neurofibrils / analysis*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Staining and Labeling
  • tau Proteins


  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • tau Proteins