Research Article- Role of Fe(II)/(III), Cu(II), and Zn(II) in Alzheimer's Disease Pathogenesis-The case for a metal-mediated tau aggregation

Published: 4 May 2020| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/ppfy9yjstt.1
Soha Ahmadi, Shaolong Zhu, Renu Sharma,


Tau protein aggregation and its hyperphosphorylation play an important role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. There is also considerable evidence for the accumulation of Fe(II)/(III), Cu(II), and Zn(II) in the brain of Alzheimer's patients, although their involvement in the etiology of the disease remains unknown. Here, interactions of the 3d metal ions Fe(II)/(III), Cu(II), and Zn(II) with the longest isoform of the human tau protein (htau40) are studied in detail. Electrospray mass spectrometry and ion mobility mass spectrometry analyses confirm the interactions of metal species with tau and that these interactions cause structural changes. Phosphorylation of the full-length htau40 with glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β), a protein kinase, causes a reduction in metal interactions. Transmission electron microscopy studies of the tau aggregates formed in the presence of metal ions suggest that the presence of metal ions influences the aggregation process. Fluorescence studies of full-length htau40 in the presence of Cu(II) indicate the formation of reactive oxygen species, which may contribute further to oxidative stress and neuronal death. References: (1) Ahmadi, S.; Zhu, S.; Sharma, R.; Wu, B.; Soong, R.; Majumdar, R. D.; Wilson, D. J.; Simpson, A. J.; Kraatz, H.-B. Aggregation of Microtubule Binding Repeats of Tau Protein Is Promoted by Cu2+. ACS Omega 2019, 4 (3), 5356–5366. (2) Ahmadi, S.; Wu, B.; Song, R.; Zhu, S.; Simpson, A.; Wilson, D. J.; Kraatz, H. B. Exploring the Interactions of Iron and Zinc with the Microtubule Binding Repeats R1 and R4. J. Inorg. Biochem. 2020, 205, 110987. (3) Ahmadi, S.; Ebralidze, I. I.; She, Z.; Kraatz, H.-B. Electrochemical Studies of Tau Protein-Iron Interactions—Potential Implications for Alzheimer’s Disease. Electrochim. Acta 2017, 236, 384–393.



University of Toronto at Scarborough, University of Toronto


Bioinorganic Chemistry, Protein Aggregation, Alzheimer's Disease, Tau, Metal Ion