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The microtubule-associated protein Tau plays a physiological role of stabilizing neuronal microtubules by binding to their lateral surface. Tau belongs to the category of natively unfolded protein as it shows typical features of random coil, as analyzed by various biophysical techniques. In cells, it is subjected to several posttranslational modifications (e.g., phosphorylation, cleavage, ubiquitination, and glycosylation). In neurodegenerative diseases, Tau forms insoluble aggregates called paired helical filaments (PHFs). We have applied fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) to examine the conformations of soluble Tau. We created a series of Tau mutants, each carrying one tryptophan and one cysteine (labeled by IEADANS). This made it possible to measure the distance between these FRET pairs placed in different domains of Tau. This approach enables one to analyze the global folding of soluble Tau and its alteration upon phosphorylation and denaturation.


Sadasivam Jeganathan, Subashchandrabose Chinnathambi, Eva-Maria Mandelkow, Eckhard Mandelkow. Conformations of microtubule-associated protein Tau mapped by fluorescence resonance energy transfer. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.). 2012;849:85-99

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PMID: 22528085

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