Inhibitory RNA Aptamers of Tau Oligomerization and Their Neuroprotective Roles against Proteotoxic Stress.

Kim JH , Kim E , Choi WH , Lee J , Lee JH , Lee H , Kim DE , Suh YH , Lee MJ
Molecular pharmaceutics
Tau is a cytosolic protein that functions in the assembly and stabilization of axonal microtubule networks. Its oligomerization may be the rate-limiting step of insoluble aggregate formation, which is a neuropathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and a number of other tauopathies. Recent evidence indicates that soluble tau oligomers are the toxic species for tau-mediated pathology during AD progression. Herein, we describe novel RNA aptamers that target human tau and were identified through an in vitro selection process. These aptamers significantly inhibited the oligomerization propensity of tau both in vitro and in cultured cell models of tauopathy without affecting the half-life of tau. Tauopathy model cells treated with the aptamers were less sensitized to proteotoxic stress induced by tau overexpression. Moreover, the tau aptamers significantly alleviated synthetic tau oligomer-mediated neurotoxicity and dendritic spine loss in primary hippocampal neurons. Thus, our study demonstrates that delaying tau assembly with RNA aptamers is an effective strategy for protecting cells under various neurodegenerative stresses originating from pathogenic tau oligomerization.

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