Pathological Tau transmission initiated by binding lymphocyte-activation gene 3

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The spread of prion-like protein aggregates is believed to be a common driver of pathogenesis in many neurodegenerative diseases. Accumulated tangles of filamentous Tau protein are considered pathogenic lesions of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related Tauopathies, including progressive supranuclear palsy, and corticobasal degeneration. Tau pathologies in these illnesses exhibits a clear progressive and hierarchical spreading pattern that correlates with disease severity 1, 2 . Clinical observation combined with complementary experimental studies 3, 4 have shown that Tau preformed fibrils (PFF) are prion-like seeds that propagate pathology by entering cells and templating misfolding and aggregation of endogenous Tau. While several receptors of Tau are known, they are not specific to the fibrillar form of Tau. Moreover, the underlying cellular mechanisms of Tau PFF spreading remains poorly understood. Here, we show that the lymphocyte-activation gene 3 (Lag3) is a cell surface receptor that binds to PFF, but not monomer, of Tau. Deletion of Lag3 or inhibition of Lag3 in primary cortical neurons significantly reduces the internalization of Tau PFF and subsequent Tau propagation and neuron-to-neuron transmission. Propagation of Tau pathology and behavioral deficits induced by injection of Tau PFF in the hippocampus and overlying cortex are attenuated in mice lacking Lag3 selectively in neurons. Our results identify neuronal Lag3 as a receptor of pathologic Tau in the brain, and for AD and related Tauopathies a therapeutic target.

One Sentence Summary

Lag3 is a neuronal receptor specific for Tau PFF, and is required for uptake, propagation and transmission of Tau pathology.

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