How mutations in the microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) gene cause frontotemporal dementia (FTD) remains poorly understood. We generated and characterized multiple induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines from patients with MAPT IVS10+16 and tau-A152T mutations and a control subject. In cortical neurons differentiated from these and other published iPSC lines, we found that MAPT mutations do not affect neuronal differentiation but increase the 4R/3R tau ratio. Patient neurons had significantly higher levels of MMP-9 and MMP-2 and were more sensitive to stress-induced cell death. Inhibitors of MMP-9/MMP-2 protected patient neurons from stress-induced cell death and recombinant MMP-9/MMP-2 were sufficient to decrease neuronal survival. In tau-A152T neurons, inhibition of the ERK pathway decreased MMP-9 expression. Moreover, ectopic expression of 4R but not 3R tau-A152T in HEK293 cells increased MMP-9 expression and ERK phosphorylation. These findings provide insights into the molecular pathogenesis of FTD and suggest a potential therapeutic target for FTD with MAPT mutations.