Does the Little-Studied Big Tau Protect Against Alzheimer's Disease?
Tau is a key protein in the development of Alzheimer's disease, accumulating inside nerve cells and impeding their communication systems. But the brain makes several versions of tau, including a little-studied form, known as big tau. Dah-eun (Chloe) Chung, PhD, brings the focus to big tau in this project to address the question of whether big tau offers protection against Alzheimer's.
As a first step, Dr. Chung and her colleagues will create new genetic animal models that do not make any big tau and determine how effectively tau buildup can be induced in the brain. In a separate set of studies, they will identify other proteins that interact with big tau and determine how they affect the functions and features of big tau. As part of this work, they will be using a novel antibody that specifically tags big tau.
For both project aims, the new research tools that Dr. Chung and her colleagues are developing can be used for other studies of big tau and other versions of tau. The findings also may highlight new therapeutic targets in Alzheimer's disease.