Genetically engineered MAPT 10+16 mutation causes pathophysiological excitability of human iPSC-derived neurons related to 4R tau-induced dementia


Human iPSC lines represent a powerful translational model of tauopathies. We have recently described a pathophysiological phenotype of neuronal excitability of human cells derived from the patients with familial frontotemporal dementia and parkinsonism (FTDP-17) caused by the MAPT 10+16 splice-site mutation. This mutation leads to the increased splicing of 4R tau isoforms. However, the role of different isoforms of tau protein in initiating neuronal dementia-related dysfunction, and the causality between the MAPT 10+16 mutation and altered neuronal activity have remained unclear. Here, we employed genetically engineered cells, in which the IVS10+16 mutation was introduced into healthy donor iPSCs to increase the expression of 4R tau isoform in exon 10, aiming to explore key physiological traits of iPSC-derived MAPT IVS10+16 neurons using patch-clamp electrophysiology and multiphoton fluorescent imaging techniques. We found that during late in vitro neurogenesis (from ~180 to 230 days) iPSC-derived cortical neurons of the control group (parental wild-type tau) exhibited membrane properties compatible with "mature" neurons. In contrast, MAPT IVS10+16 neurons displayed impaired excitability, as reflected by a depolarized resting membrane potential, an increased input resistance, and reduced voltage-gated Na+- and K+-channel-mediated currents. The mutation changed the channel properties of fast-inactivating Nav and decreased the Nav1.6 protein level. MAPT IVS10+16 neurons exhibited reduced firing accompanied by a changed action potential waveform and severely disturbed intracellular Ca2+ dynamics, both in the soma and dendrites, upon neuronal depolarization. These results unveil a causal link between the MAPT 10+16 mutation, hence overproduction of 4R tau, and a dysfunction of human cells, identifying a biophysical basis of changed neuronal activity in 4R tau-triggered dementia. Our study lends further support to using iPSC lines as a suitable platform for modelling tau-induced human neuropathology in vitro. © 2021. The Author(s).

Authors Kopach O, Esteras N, Wray S, Abramov AY, Rusakov DA
Journal Cell death & disease
Publication Date 2021 Jul 17;12(8):716
PubMed 34274950
PubMed Central PMC8286258
DOI 10.1038/s41419-021-04007-w

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