Mutations in the tau gene cause familial frontotemporal dementia with parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 characterized by filamentous tau protein deposits. Here we describe the clinical and neuropathological features of a case from a newly identified family with an intron 10+3-splice site mutation in the tau gene. The proband presented with severe personality changes and stereotyped speech followed by parkinsonian symptoms. He died at age 56 after a disease duration of approximately 6 years. At autopsy, there was marked frontotemporal degeneration with abundant tau-immunoreactive neuronal and glial inclusions widespread in the cortex and brainstem. RT-PCR analysis revealed a 3.7-fold increase of tau transcripts with exon 10, resulting in an 1.7-fold higher expression level of 4-repeat tau isoforms in soluble tau fractions when compared to control brains and exclusively 4-repeat tau isoforms in the sarcosyl-insoluble tau fractions. In accordance with the hypothesis that the overexpression leads to saturation of microtubule binding sites and an increase of unbound 4-repeat tau isoforms which assemble into filaments, the neuronal and glial inclusions in this case were exclusively composed of 4-repeat tau isoforms. The clinical and neuropathological data of this family are compared with results from the two other published families with the intron 10+3 mutation, the MSTD and the SOT 254 family.
- Alternative splicing
- Frontotemporal dementia