Mechanobiology June 26th - June 2nd 2016

Mechanobiology: June 26th  - June 2nd 2016

Sense and antisense transfection analysis of tau function: tau influences net microtubule assembly, neurite outgrowth and neuritic stability
B. Esmaeli-Azad, J.H. McCarty, S.C. Feinstein


Microtubules are fundamental elements participating in many aspects of cell behavior and maintenance, yet the factors regulating microtubule behavior in vivo remain poorly understood. Employing the nerve growth factor (NGF)-responsive cell line, PC12, we have used sense and antisense DNA transfection strategies to examine the role of the microtubule-associated protein (MAP) tau in several aspects of neuronal cell behavior. Stable transfectants over-expressing tau accumulate more microtubule mass and extend neurites more rapidly than control cells, while transfectants under-expressing tau exhibit reduced microtubule levels and slower neurite outgrowth. Further, tau over-expressing cells are markedly more resistant to nocodazole-induced neuritic degeneration when compared to wild-type or tau under-expressing cells. These observations provide direct support for the model that tau is capable of influencing: (i) net microtubule assembly, (ii) the rate of neurite elongation and (iii) neuritic stability. These capabilities suggest that tau plays crucial roles in the development and maintenance of neuronal cells.