tau protein

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tau protein

microtubule-associated protein that accumulates in neurons in neurofibrillary degeneration in a wide variety of disorders including Alzheimer disease; gene for tau protein situated on chromosome 17; normal role for tau protein is to stabilize microtubules; abnormal phosphorylation of tau protein destabilizes microtubules, which causes degenerative change.

tau protein

n.
Any of several proteins that act to stabilize neuronal microtubules in the axons of brain neurons and that form abnormal tangles in the brains of people with certain neurodegenerative disorders.

tau protein

a microtubule-associated protein that forms insoluble and hyperphosphorylated aggregates in Alzheimer's disease.

tau protein

A major structural protein associated with the microtubules that form the cytoskeleton of nerve cells. An abnormal form with a shorter molecule is found in the helical filaments in senile neural plaques and in the insoluble neurofibrillary tangles of ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE. It is found in the cerebrospinal fluid of people with DEMENTIA but is present in higher concentration in Alzheimer's disease than in other forms of dementia. Abnormal tau protein binds strongly to the normal protein and the latter then become shortened by nerve cell proteolytic enzymes into the abnormal form. The latter is not split by these enzymes. It was reported in 2005 that when expression of a mutant tau gene in mice was turned off with doxycycline, lost memory was recovered to a surprising degree in spite of the presence of extensive neurofibrillary tangles.