image credit: news.medicine.iu.edu
In healthy brains, tau acts as a stabiliser, but when the proteins become defective, they can form into bundles of tangled filaments, which are thought to impede communication between brain cells, leading to the neurodegeneration and reduced cognitive ability seen in conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
“It’s clear that tau is extremely important to the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and certain forms of dementia. In terms of designing therapeutic agents, the possibilities are now enormous.” – Bernardino Ghetti from Indiana University
Dockrill, Peter. “Scientists Have Uncovered The Atomic Structure of a Key Alzheimer’s Protein For The First Time.” IU School of Medicine Newsroom. Indiana University, 06 July 2017. Web. 11 July 2017.