Developmental Expression of 4-Repeat-Tau Induces Neuronal Aneuploidy in Drosophila Tauopathy Models

Sci Rep. 2017 Jan 23:7:40764. doi: 10.1038/srep40764.


Tau-mediated neurodegeneration in Alzheimer's disease and tauopathies is generally assumed to start in a normally developed brain. However, several lines of evidence suggest that impaired Tau isoform expression during development could affect mitosis and ploidy in post-mitotic differentiated tissue. Interestingly, the relative expression levels of Tau isoforms containing either 3 (3R-Tau) or 4 repeats (4R-Tau) play an important role both during brain development and neurodegeneration. Here, we used genetic and cellular tools to study the link between 3R and 4R-Tau isoform expression, mitotic progression in neuronal progenitors and post-mitotic neuronal survival. Our results illustrated that the severity of Tau-induced adult phenotypes depends on 4R-Tau isoform expression during development. As recently described, we observed a mitotic delay in 4R-Tau expressing cells of larval eye discs and brains. Live imaging revealed that the spindle undergoes a cycle of collapse and recovery before proceeding to anaphase. Furthermore, we found a high level of aneuploidy in post-mitotic differentiated tissue. Finally, we showed that overexpression of wild type and mutant 4R-Tau isoform in neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cell lines is sufficient to induce monopolar spindles. Taken together, our results suggested that neurodegeneration could be in part linked to neuronal aneuploidy caused by 4R-Tau expression during brain development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aneuploidy*
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Survival / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Humans
  • Mitosis / genetics
  • Mutation
  • Neural Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Phenotype
  • Photoreceptor Cells / metabolism
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Tauopathies / genetics*
  • Tauopathies / metabolism*
  • Tauopathies / pathology
  • tau Proteins / genetics*
  • tau Proteins / metabolism*


  • Protein Isoforms
  • tau Proteins