TFEB overexpression in the P301S model of tauopathy mitigates increased PHF1 levels and lipofuscin puncta and rescues memory deficits Article

cited authors

  • Wang, H; Wang, R; Carrera, I; Xu, S; Lakshmana, MK

fiu authors


  • Transcription factor EB (TFEB) was recently shown to be a master regulator of autophagy lysosome pathway. Here, we successfully generated and characterized transgenic mice overexpressing flag-TFEB. Enhanced autophagy in the flag-TFEB transgenic mice was confirmed by an increase in the cellular autophagy markers, as determined by both immunoblots and transmission electron microscopy. Surprisingly, in the flag-TFEB mice we observed increased activity of senescence-associated ß-galactosidase by ~66[%] of neurons in the cortex (p < 0.001) and 73[%] of neurons in the hippocampus (p < 0.001). More importantly, flag-TFEB expression remarkably reduced the levels of paired-helical filament (PHF)-tau from 372[%] in the P301S model of tauopathy to 171[%] (p < 0.001) in the cortex, and from 436[%] to 212[%] (p < 0.001) in the hippocampus. Significantly, reduced levels of NeuN in the cortex (38[%], p < 0.001) and hippocampus (25[%], p < 0.05) of P301S mice were almost completely restored to WT levels in the P301S/flag-TFEB double-transgenic mice. Also, levels of spinophilin in both the cortex (p < 0.001) and hippocampus (p < 0.001) were restored almost to WT levels. Most importantly, the ageassociated lipofuscin granules, which are generally presumed to be nondegradable, were reduced by 57[%] (p < 0.001) in the cortex and by 55[%] (p < 0.001) in the hippocampus in the double-transgenic mice. Finally, TFEB overexpression in the P301S mice markedly reversed learning deficits in terms of spatial memory (Barnes maze), as well as working and reference memories (T maze). These data suggest that the overexpression of TFEB can reliably enhance autophagy in vivo, reduce levels of PHF-tau, and thereby reverse the deposition of lipofuscin granules and memory deficits.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 9340

end page

  • 9351


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