Kavli Affiliate: Stephen Strittmatter
| Authors: Hideyuki Takahashi, Sanaea Bhagwagar, Sarah H. Nies, Marius T. Chiasseu, Guilin Wang, Ian R. Mackenzie and Stephen M. Strittmatter
Comorbid proteinopathies are observed in many neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), increase with age, and influence clinical outcomes, yet the mechanisms remain ill-defined. Here, we show that reduction of progranulin (PGRN), a lysosomal protein associated with TDP-43 proteinopathy, also increases tau inclusions, causes concomitant accumulation of α-synuclein and worsens mortality and disinhibited behaviors in tauopathy mice. The increased inclusions paradoxically protect against spatial memory deficit and hippocampal neurodegeneration. PGRN reduction with tau pathology attenuates activity of β-glucocerebrosidase (GCase), a protein previously associated with synucleinopathy, while increasing glucosylceramide (GlcCer)-positive tau inclusions. In neuronal culture, GCase inhibition enhances tau aggregation induced by AD-tau. Furthermore, purified GlcCer directly promotes tau aggregation in vitro. Neurofibrillary tangles in human tauopathies are also GlcCer-immunoreactive. Thus, in addition to TDP-43, PGRN regulates tau- and synucleinopathies via GCase and GlcCer. A lysosomal PGRN–GCase pathway may be a common therapeutic target for age-related comorbid proteinopathies.