Plectin dysfunction in neurons leads to tau accumulation on microtubules affecting neuritogenesis, organelle trafficking, pain sensitivity and memory

R. G. Valencia, E. Mihailovska, L. Winter, K. Bauer, I. Fischer, G. Walko, J. Jorgacevski, M. Potokar, R. Zorec, G. Wiche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (SciVal)


Aims: Plectin, a universally expressed multi-functional cytolinker protein, is crucial for intermediate filament networking, including crosstalk with actomyosin and microtubules. In addition to its involvement in a number of diseases affecting skin, skeletal muscle, heart, and other stress-exposed tissues, indications for a neuropathological role of plectin have emerged. Having identified P1c as the major isoform expressed in neural tissues in previous studies, our aim for the present work was to investigate whether, and by which mechanism(s), the targeted deletion of this isoform affects neuritogenesis and proper nerve cell functioning. Methods: For ex vivo phenotyping, we used dorsal root ganglion and hippocampal neurons derived from isoform P1c-deficient and plectin-null mice, complemented by in vitro experiments using purified proteins and cell fractions. To assess the physiological significance of the phenotypic alterations observed in P1c-deficient neurons, P1c-deficient and wild-type littermate mice were subjected to standard behavioural tests. Results: We demonstrate that P1c affects axonal microtubule dynamics by isoform-specific interaction with tubulin. P1c deficiency in neurons leads to altered dynamics of microtubules and excessive association with tau protein, affecting neuritogenesis, neurite branching, growth cone morphology, and translocation and directionality of movement of vesicles and mitochondria. On the organismal level, we found P1c deficiency manifesting as impaired pain sensitivity, diminished learning capabilities and reduced long-term memory of mice. Conclusions: Revealing a regulatory role of plectin scaffolds in microtubule-dependent nerve cell functions, our results have potential implications for cytoskeleton-related neuropathies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-95
JournalNeuropathology and Applied Neurobiology
Issue number1
Early online date2 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2021


  • axonal transport
  • microtubules
  • neuritogenesis
  • neurons
  • plectin
  • tau

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Plectin dysfunction in neurons leads to tau accumulation on microtubules affecting neuritogenesis, organelle trafficking, pain sensitivity and memory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this