“Tau is a microtubule-associated neuronal protein found mainly in axons. However, its presence in dendrites and dendritic spines is particularly relevant due to its involvement in synaptic plasticity and neurodegeneration. Here, [the authors] show that Tau plays a novel in vivo role in the morphological and synaptic maturation of newborn hippocampal granule neurons under basal conditions.” Tau is shown to be involved in the selective cell death of immature granule neurons caused by acute stress. Also, Tau deficiency protects newborn neurons from the stress-induced dendritic atrophy and loss of postsynaptic densities. Tau also regulates the increase in newborn neuron survival triggered by environmental enrichment (EE). Newborn granule neurons from Tau-/- mice did not show any stimulatory effect of EE on dendritic development or on postsynaptic density generation. In summary, the data demonstrate that Tau-/- mice have impairments in the maturation of newborn granule neurons under basal conditions and that they are insensitive to the modulation of adult hippocampal neurogenesis exerted by both stimulatory and detrimental stimuli.
Pallas-Bazarra N, Jurado-Arjona J, Navarrete M, Esteban JA, Hernández F, Ávila J, Lorens-Martín M: Novel function of Tau in regulating the effects of external stimuli on adult hippocampal neurogenesis. EMBO J. [May 19, 2016, Epub ahead of print; pii: e201593518].