Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Functional Impact of Corticotropin-Releasing Factor Exposure on Tau Phosphorylation and Axon Transport.

  • Author(s): Le, Michelle H
  • Weissmiller, April M
  • Monte, Louise
  • Lin, Po Han
  • Hexom, Tia C
  • Natera, Orlangie
  • Wu, Chengbiao
  • Rissman, Robert A
  • et al.
Abstract

Stress exposure or increased levels of corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) induce hippocampal tau phosphorylation (tau-P) in rodent models, a process that is dependent on the type-1 CRF receptor (CRFR1). Although these preclinical studies on stress-induced tau-P provide mechanistic insight for epidemiological work that identifies stress as a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD), the actual impact of stress-induced tau-P on neuronal function remains unclear. To determine the functional consequences of stress-induced tau-P, we developed a novel mouse neuronal cell culture system to explore the impact of acute (0.5hr) and chronic (2hr) CRF treatment on tau-P and integral cell processes such as axon transport. Consistent with in vivo reports, we found that chronic CRF treatment increased tau-P levels and caused globular accumulations of phosphorylated tau in dendritic and axonal processes. Furthermore, while both acute and chronic CRF treatment led to significant reduction in CREB activation and axon transport of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), this was not the case with mitochondrial transport. Acute CRF treatment caused increased mitochondrial velocity and distance traveled in neurons, while chronic CRF treatment modestly decreased mitochondrial velocity and greatly increased distance traveled. These results suggest that transport of cellular energetics may take priority over growth factors during stress. Tau-P was required for these changes, as co-treatment of CRF with a GSK kinase inhibitor prevented CRF-induced tau-P and all axon transport changes. Collectively, our results provide mechanistic insight into the consequences of stress peptide-induced tau-P and provide an explanation for how chronic stress via CRF may lead to neuronal vulnerability in AD.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
Current View