J. Neurochem. (2010) 112, 1353–1367.
We are analyzing the physiological function of Tau protein and its abnormal pathological behavior when this protein is self-assemble into pathological filaments. These aggregates of Tau protein are the main components in many diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Recent studies suggest that Tau acquires complex oligomeric conformations which may be toxic. In this review, we emphasized the possible phenomena implicated in the formation of these oligomers. Studies with chemical inductors indicates that the microtubule-binding domain is the most important region involved in Tau aggregation and showed the requirement of a pre-arrange Tau in abnormal conformation to promote self-assembly. Transgenic animal models and AD neuropathology studies showed that post-translational modifications are also implicated in Tau aggregation and neural cell death during AD development. Therefore, we analyzed some events that could be present during Tau aggregation. Finally, we included a brief discussion of the possible relation between glucose metabolism dysfunction in AD, and data of Tau aggregation by using aggregation inhibitors. In conclusion, the process Tau aggregation deserves further investigations to design possible therapeutic targets to inhibit the toxicity of these aggregates and it is possible that could be extended to other diseases with similar etiology.