Antibodies were raised to two synthetic peptides with amino acid sequences encoded by a variable region of exons 10 and 11 of the tau gene. The affinity‐purified antibodies, designated E‐10 and E‐11, were used to determine whether PHF‐tau and normal tau differ in variants containing three or four repeats in the microtubule‐binding domain, respectively. Normal adult human brain was shown by gel electrophoresis to contain six isoforms of tau. All of the isoforms reacted with E‐11, whereas only four of them with slower electrophoretic mobility were recognized by E‐10. Fetal brain tau was readily recognized by E‐11 but reacted poorly with E‐10. In PHF preparations, E‐11 bound to all three polypeptides of PHF‐tau of 68 kD, 64 kD, and 60 kD and reacted intensely with a material smearing from the top of the gel to about the 50‐kD region. In contrast, E‐10 only weakly recognized the two higher molecular weight PHF‐tau polypeptides of 68 kD and 64 kD, as well as smeared material, and the binding was not affected by phosphatase treatment. Using recombinant tau with four repeats as a reference, the immunoreactivity of E‐10 with PHF‐tau was estimated to be approximately 5% of that of E‐11. By comparison, the immunoreactivity of E‐10 with four isoforms of normal tau was comparable to that of E‐11. These results indicate that the ratio of three vs. four repeat variants in PHF‐tau is higher than in normal tau and suggest that Alzheimer disease may be associated with the disproportional expression of fetal (or juvenile) forms of tau. Alternatively, the weak reactivity of PHF‐tau with E‐10 antibody could be due to post‐translational modifications other than phosphorylation. © 1995 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
- Alzheimer disease
- recombinant tau
- tau gene
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience