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Tau protein is the major component of the intracellular filamentous deposits that define a number of neurodegenerative diseases. They include the largely sporadic Alzheimer's disease, progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), corticobasal degeneration (CBD), Pick's disease (PiD), argyrophilic grain disease, as well as the inherited frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17). The identification of mutations in Tau as the cause of FTDP-17 established that dysfunction or misregulation of tau protein is sufficient to cause neurodegeneration and dementia. At an experimental level, the new understanding is leading to the development of good transgenic animal models of the tauopathies.
PMID: 15036206 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]