Mutations in the progranulin (PGRN) gene cause a tau pathology-negative and TDP43 pathology-positive form of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD-TDP). We generated a knock-in mouse harboring the R504X mutation (PGRN-KI). Phosphoproteomic analysis of this model revealed activation of signaling pathways connecting PKC and MAPK to tau prior to TDP43 aggregation and cognitive impairments, and identified PKCα as the kinase responsible for the early-stage tau phosphorylation at Ser203. Disinhibition of Gas6 binding to Tyro3 due to PGRN reduction results in activation of PKCα via PLCγ, inducing tau phosphorylation at Ser203, mislocalization of tau to dendritic spines, and spine loss. Administration of a PKC inhibitor, B-Raf inhibitor, or knockdown of molecules in the Gas6-Tyro3-tau axis rescues spine loss and cognitive impairment of PGRN-KI mice. Collectively, these results suggest that targeting of early-stage and aggregation-independent tau signaling represents a promising therapeutic strategy for this disease.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)