An HDAC6-dependent surveillance mechanism suppresses tau-mediated neurodegeneration and cognitive decline

Trzeciakiewicz, Hanna, et al. “An HDAC6-Dependent Surveillance Mechanism Suppresses Tau-Mediated Neurodegeneration and Cognitive Decline.” Nature Communications, no. 1, Springer Science and Business Media LLC, Nov. 2020. Crossref, doi:10.1038/s41467-020-19317-4.


Tauopathies including Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are marked by the accumulation of aberrantly modified tau proteins. Acetylated tau, in particular, has recently been implicated in neurodegeneration and cognitive decline. HDAC6 reversibly regulates tau acetylation, but its role in tauopathy progression remains unclear. Here, we identified an HDAC6-chaperone complex that targets aberrantly modified tau. HDAC6 not only deacetylates tau but also suppresses tau hyperphosphorylation within the microtubule-binding region. In neurons and human AD brain, HDAC6 becomes co-aggregated within focal tau swellings and human AD neuritic plaques. Using mass spectrometry, we identify a novel HDAC6-regulated tau acetylation site as a disease specific marker for 3R/4R and 3R tauopathies, supporting uniquely modified tau species in different neurodegenerative disorders. Tau transgenic mice lacking HDAC6 show reduced survival characterized by accelerated tau pathology and cognitive decline. We propose that a HDAC6-dependent surveillance mechanism suppresses toxic tau accumulation, which may protect against the progression of AD and related tauopathies.