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TSC1 loss-of-function increases risk for tauopathy by inducing tau acetylation and preventing autophagy-mediated tau clearance

By Carolina Alquezar, Kathleen M Schoch, Ethan G. Geier, Eliana Marisa Ramos, Aurora Scrivo, Kathy Li, Andrea R Argouarch, Elisabeth E. Mlynarski, Beth Dombroski, Jennifer S. Yokoyama, Ana M Cuervo, Alma L Burlingame, Gerard D. Schellenberg, Timothy M. Miller, Bruce L. Miller, Aimee W Kao

Posted 08 Nov 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.11.08.371922

Age-associated neurodegenerative disorders demonstrating tau-laden intracellular inclusions, including Alzheimer's disease (AD), frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), are collectively known as tauopathies. The vast majority of human tauopathies accumulate non-mutant tau rather than mutant forms of the protein, yet cell and animal models for non-mutant tauopathies are lacking. We previously linked a monoallelic mutation in the TSC1 gene to tau accumulation and FTLD. Now, we have identified new variants in TSC1 that predisposed to other tauopathies such as AD and PSP. These new TSC1 risk variants significantly decreased the half-life of TSC1/hamartin in vitro. Cellular and murine models of TSC1 haploinsufficiency (TSC1+/-) accumulated tau protein that exhibited aberrant acetylation on six lysine residues. Tau acetylation hindered its degradation via chaperone-mediated autophagy leading to neuronal tau accumulation. Enhanced tau acetylation in TSC1+/- models was achieved through both an increase in p300 acetyltransferase activity and a decrease in SIRT1 deacetylase levels. Pharmacological modulation of either enzyme restored tau levels. Together, these studies substantiate TSC1 as a novel tauopathy risk gene and advance TSC1 haploinsufficiency as a new genetic model for tauopathy. In addition, these results promote acetylated tau as a rational target for diagnostic and therapeutic modalities in multiple tauopathies. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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