Tau Protein Disrupts Nucleocytoplasmic Transport in Alzheimer's Disease

Neuron. 2018 Sep 5;99(5):925-940.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2018.07.039.


Tau is the major constituent of neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer's disease (AD), but the mechanism underlying tau-associated neural damage remains unclear. Here, we show that tau can directly interact with nucleoporins of the nuclear pore complex (NPC) and affect their structural and functional integrity. Pathological tau impairs nuclear import and export in tau-overexpressing transgenic mice and in human AD brain tissue. Furthermore, the nucleoporin Nup98 accumulates in the cell bodies of some tangle-bearing neurons and can facilitate tau aggregation in vitro. These data support the hypothesis that tau can directly interact with NPC components, leading to their mislocalization and consequent disruption of NPC function. This raises the possibility that NPC dysfunction contributes to tau-induced neurotoxicity in AD and tauopathies.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Nup98; nuclear pore complex; nucleocytoplasmic transport; tauopathies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Active Transport, Cell Nucleus / physiology
  • Alzheimer Disease / genetics
  • Alzheimer Disease / metabolism*
  • Alzheimer Disease / pathology
  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Cell Nucleus / pathology
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism*
  • Cytoplasm / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • tau Proteins / metabolism*


  • tau Proteins