Function and regulation of cis P-tau in the pathogenesis and treatment of conventional and nonconventional tauopathies

J Neurochem. 2023 Sep;166(6):904-914. doi: 10.1111/jnc.15909. Epub 2023 Aug 28.


Conventional tauopathies are a group of disease characterized by tau inclusions in the brains, including Alzheimer's disease (AD), Pick's disease (PiD), progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), corticobasal degeneration (CBD), and certain types of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), among which AD is the most prevalent. Extensive post-translational modifications, especially hyperphosphorylation, and abnormal aggregation of tau protein underlie tauopathy. Cis-trans isomerization of protein plays an important role in protein folding, function, and degradation, which is regulated by peptidyl-proline isomerases (PPIases). Peptidyl-prolyl cis-trans isomerase NIMA-interacting 1 (Pin1), the only PPIase found to isomerize Pro following phosphorylated Ser or Thr residues, alters phosphorylated tau protein conformation at pT231-P motif. The cis P-tau but not trans P-tau serves as an early driver of multiple neurodegenerative disease, encompassing AD, traumatic brain injury (TBI), chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), and vascular contributions to cognitive impairment and dementia (VCID). Cis but not trans P-tau is resistant to protein dephosphorylation and degradation, and also prone to protein aggregation. Cis P-tau loses its ability to stabilize microtubule, causing and spreading tauopathy mainly in axons, a pathological process called cistauosis. The conformation-specific monoclonal antibody that targets only the cis P-tau serves as a very early diagnosis method and a potential treatment of not only conventional tauopathies but also nonconventional tauopathies such as VCID, with clinical trials ongoing. Notably, cis P-tau antibody is the only clinical-stage Alzheimer's therapeutic that has shown the efficacy in animal models of not only AD but also TBI and stroke, which are very early stages of dementia. Here we review the identification and pathological consequences of cis pt231-tau, the role of its regulator Pin1, as well as the clinical implication of cis pt231-tau conformation-specific antibody in conventional and nonconventional tauopathies.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; biotherapeutics; diagnosis; tauopathy; traumatic brain injury; vascular contribution to cognitive impairment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alzheimer Disease*
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Brain Injuries, Traumatic*
  • Dementia, Vascular*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases*
  • Pick Disease of the Brain*
  • Tauopathies*
  • tau Proteins


  • tau Proteins
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal