Lowering total tau levels is an attractive therapeutic strategy for Alzheimer's disease and other tauopathies. High-throughput screening in neurons derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) is a powerful tool to identify tau-targeted therapeutics. However, such screens have been hampered by heterogeneous neuronal production, high cost and low yield, and multi-step differentiation procedures. We engineered an isogenic iPSC line that harbors an inducible neurogenin 2 transgene, a transcription factor that rapidly converts iPSCs to neurons, integrated at the AAVS1 locus. Using a simplified two-step protocol, we differentiated these iPSCs into cortical glutamatergic neurons with minimal well-to-well variability. We developed a robust high-content screening assay to identify tau-lowering compounds in LOPAC and identified adrenergic receptors agonists as a class of compounds that reduce endogenous human tau. These techniques enable the use of human neurons for high-throughput screening of drugs to treat neurodegenerative disease.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Tau-lowering; adrenergic receptor; frontotemporal dementia; high-content screening; human induced pluripotent stem cells; human neurons; neurodegeneration; neurogenin 2; tau.
Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.