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Chiku, T., Hayashishita, M., Saito, T., Oka, M., Shinno, K., Ohtake, Y., Shimizu, S., Asada, A., Hisanaga, S.I., Iijima, K.M., Ando, K. (2018). S6K/p70S6K1 protects against tau-mediated neurodegeneration by decreasing the level of tau phosphorylated at Ser262 in a Drosophila model of tauopathy.  Neurobiol. Aging 71(): 255--264.
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Abnormal accumulation of the microtubule-associated protein tau is thought to cause neuronal cell death in a group of age-associated neurodegenerative disorders. Tau is phosphorylated at multiple sites in diseased brains, and phosphorylation of tau at Ser262 initiates tau accumulation and toxicity. In this study, we sought to identify novel factors that affect the metabolism and toxicity of tau phosphorylated at Ser262 (pSer262-tau). A biased screen using a Drosophila model of tau toxicity revealed that knockdown of S6K, the Drosophila homolog of p70S6K1, increased the level of pSer262-tau and enhanced tau toxicity. S6K can be activated by the insulin signaling, however, unlike knockdown of S6K, knockdown of insulin receptor or insulin receptor substrate nonselectively decreased total tau levels via autophagy. Importantly, activation of S6K significantly suppressed tau-mediated axon degeneration, whereas manipulation of either the insulin signaling pathway or autophagy did not. Our results suggest that activation of S6K may be an effective therapeutic strategy for selectively decreasing the levels of toxic tau species and suppressing neurodegeneration.

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    Neurobiol. Aging
    Neurobiology of Aging
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