The mechanism of Hsp90-induced oligomerizaton of Tau

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Science Advances  13 Mar 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 11, eaax6999
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax6999


Aggregation of the microtubule-associated protein Tau is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease with Tau oligomers suspected as the most toxic agent. Tau is a client of the molecular chaperone Hsp90, although it is unclear whether and how the chaperone massages the structure of intrinsically disordered Tau. Using electron paramagnetic resonance, we extract structural information from the very broad conformational ensemble of Tau: Tau in solution is highly dynamic and polymorphic, although “paper clip”–shaped by long-range contacts. Interaction with Hsp90 promotes an open Tau conformation, which we identify as the molecular basis for the formation of small Tau oligomers by exposure of the aggregation-prone repeat domain to other Tau molecules. At the same time, formation of Tau fibrils is inhibited. We therefore provide the nanometer-scale zoom into chaperoning an amyloid client, highlighting formation of oligomers as the consequence of this biologically relevant interaction.

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