Directly Reprogrammed Neurons Express MAPT and APP Splice Variants Pertinent to Ageing and Neurodegeneration

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Neurons produced by reprogramming of other cell types are used to study cellular mechanisms of age-related neurodegenerative diseases. To model Alzheimer's disease and other tauopathies, it is essential that alternative splicing of the MAPT transcript in these neurons produces the relevant tau isoforms. Human neurons derived from induced pluripotent stem cells, however, express tau isoform compositions characteristic of foetal neurons rather than of adult neurons unless cultured in vitro for extended time periods. In this study, we characterised the dynamics of the MAPT and APP alternative splicing during a developmental time-course of porcine and murine cerebral cortices. We found age-dependent and species-specific isoform composition of MAPT, including 3R and 4R isoforms in the porcine adult brain similar to that of the adult human brain. We converted adult and embryonic fibroblasts directly into induced neurons and found similar developmental patterns of isoform composition, notably, the 3R and 4R isoforms relevant to the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. Also, we observed cell-type-specific isoform expression of APP transcripts during the conversion. The approach was further used to generate induced neurons from transgenic pigs carrying Alzheimer's disease-causing mutations. We show that such neurons authentically model the first crucial steps in AD pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Neurobiology
Volume58
Issue5
Pages (from-to)2075-2087
Number of pages13
ISSN0893-7648
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

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