MAP2c prevents arachidonic acid-induced fibril formation of tau: Role of chaperone activity and phosphorylation

Authors : Mitra G, Gupta S, Poddar A, Bhattacharyya B

Publication Year : 2015

Abstract :

Tau has long been associated with Alzheimer's disease, where it forms neurofibrillary tangles. Here we show for the first time by electron microscopy that MAP2c prevents arachidonic acid-induced in vitro aggregation of tau. However, phosphorylated MAP2c failed to prevent the same. Previously we reported that MAP2c possesses chaperone-like activity while tau does not (Sarkar et al., 2004, Eur J Biochem., 271(8), 1488-96). Here we demonstrate that phosphorylation severely impaired the chaperone activity of MAP2c, implying a crucial role of chaperone in preventing tau fibrillation. Additionally, the ability of MAP2c to induce microtubule polymerization was abolished completely upon phosphorylation. As tau and MAP2c possess highly homologous C-termini, we speculated that the N-terminus of MAP2c might account for its chaperone activity. Nevertheless, experiments showed that N-terminus of MAP2c alone is inactive as a chaperone. Our preliminary findings suggest that MAP2c/MAP2 could be one of the regulators maintaining tau homeostasis in the cell.