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Alternate Names: Tau, Microtubule-associated protein tau, Neurofibrillary tangle protein, Paired helical filament-tau, MAPT, MAPTL, MTBT1
Description: Microtubule-associated protein tau (tau) promotes microtubule assembly and stability, and is involved in the establishment and maintenance of neuronal polarity. The C-terminus binds axonal microtubules while the N-terminus binds neural plasma membrane components, suggesting that tau functions as a linker protein between both. Axonal polarity is predetermined by tau localization (in the neuronal cell) in the domain of the cell body defined by the centrosome. The short isoforms allow plasticity of the cytoskeleton whereas the longer isoforms play a role in its stabilization. In Alzheimer disease, the neuronal cytoskeleton in the brain is progressively disrupted and replaced by tangles of paired helical filaments (PHF) and straight filaments, mainly composed of hyperphosphorylated forms of tau (PHF-tau or AD P-tau).