• 14-3-3 protein;
  • aggregation;
  • Alzheimer disease;
  • microtubule-associated protein tau;
  • phosphorylation;
  • tauopathy


The microtubule associated protein tau is a major component of neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer disease brain, however the neuropathological processes behind the formation of neurofibrillary tangles are still unclear. Previously, 14-3-3 proteins were reported to bind with tau. 14-3-3 Proteins usually bind their targets through specific serine/threonine –phosphorylated motifs. Therefore, the interaction of tau with 14-3-3 mediated by phosphorylation was investigated. In this study, we show that the phosphorylation of tau by either protein kinase A (PKA) or protein kinase B (PKB) enhances the binding of tau with 14-3-3 in vitro. The affinity between tau and 14-3-3 is increased 12- to 14-fold by phosphorylation as determined by real time surface plasmon resonance studies. Mutational analyses revealed that Ser214 is critical for the phosphorylation-mediated interaction of tau with 14-3-3. Finally, in vitro aggregation assays demonstrated that phosphorylation by PKA/PKB inhibits the formation of aggregates/filaments of tau induced by 14-3-3. As the phosphorylation at Ser214 is up-regulated in fetal brain, tau’s interaction with 14-3-3 may have a significant role in the organization of the microtubule cytoskeleton in development. Also as the phosphorylation at Ser214 is up-regulated in Alzheimer’s disease brain, tau’s interaction with 14-3-3 might be involved in the pathology of this disease.