J Neurochem. 2024 Jan 26. doi: 10.1111/jnc.16053. Online ahead of print.
An increase in tau acetylation at K274 and K281 and abnormal mitochondrial dynamics have been observed in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients. Here, we constructed three types of tau plasmids, TauKQ (acetylated tau mutant, by mutating its K274/K281 into glutamine to mimic disease-associated lysine acetylation), TauKR (non-acetylated tau mutant, by mutating its K274/K281 into arginine), and TauWT (wild-type human full-length tau). By transfecting these tau plasmids in HEK293 cells, we found that TauWT and TauKR induced mitochondrial fusion by increasing the level of mitochondrial fusion proteins. Conversely, TauKQ induced mitochondrial fission by reducing mitochondrial fusion proteins, exacerbating mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis. BGP-15 ameliorated TauKQ-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis by improving mitochondrial dynamics. Our findings suggest that acetylation of K274/281 represents an important post-translational modification site regulating mitochondrial dynamics, and that BGP-15 holds potential as a therapeutic agent for mitochondria-associated diseases such as AD.