Insights into Disease-Associated Tau Impact on Mitochondria
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Abnormal tau protein aggregation in the brain is a hallmark of tauopathies, such as frontotemporal lobar degeneration and Alzheimer's disease. Substantial evidence has been linking tau to neurodegeneration, but the underlying mechanisms have yet to be clearly identified. Mitochondria are paramount organelles in neurons, as they provide the main source of energy (adenosine triphosphate) to these highly energetic cells. Mitochondrial dysfunction was identified as an early event of
... of neurodegenerative diseases occurring even before the cognitive deficits. Tau protein was shown to interact with mitochondrial proteins and to impair mitochondrial bioenergetics and dynamics, leading to neurotoxicity. In this review, we discuss in detail the different impacts of disease-associated tau protein on mitochondrial functions, including mitochondrial transport, network dynamics, mitophagy and bioenergetics. We also give new insights about the effects of abnormal tau protein on mitochondrial neurosteroidogenesis, as well as on the endoplasmic reticulum-mitochondria coupling. A better understanding of the pathomechanisms of abnormal tau-induced mitochondrial failure may help to identify new targets for therapeutic interventions.