Protein Phosphatase 2A Is the Major Enzyme in Brain that Dephosphorylates τ Protein Phosphorylated by Proline-Directed Protein Kinases or Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinase


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. M. Goedert at MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 2QH, U.K.


Abstract: The paired helical filament (PHF), which makes up the major fibrous component of the neurofibrillary lesions of Alzheimer's disease, is composed of hyperphosphorylated and abnormally phosphorylated microtubule-associated protein τ. Previous studies have identified serine and threonine residues phosphorylated in PHF-τ and have shown that τ can be phosphorylated at several of these sites by proline-directed protein kinases and cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase. Here we have investigated which protein phosphatase activities can dephosphorylate recombinant τ phosphorylated with mitogen-activated protein kinase, glycogen synthase kinase-3β, neuronal cdc2-like kinase, or cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase. We show that protein phosphatase 2A is by far the major protein phosphatase activity in brain that dephosphorylates τ phosphorylated in this manner.