Chronic traumatic encephalopathy Type II Tau filament

Experimental Data Snapshot

  • Resolution: 3.40 Å
  • Aggregation State: TISSUE 
  • Reconstruction Method: HELICAL 

wwPDB Validation   3D Report Full Report

This is version 1.6 of the entry. See complete history


Novel tau filament fold in chronic traumatic encephalopathy encloses hydrophobic molecules.

Falcon, B.Zivanov, J.Zhang, W.Murzin, A.G.Garringer, H.J.Vidal, R.Crowther, R.A.Newell, K.L.Ghetti, B.Goedert, M.Scheres, S.H.W.

(2019) Nature 568: 420-423

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1026-5
  • Primary Citation of Related Structures:  
    6NWP, 6NWQ

  • PubMed Abstract: 

    Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is a neurodegenerative tauopathy that is associated with repetitive head impacts or exposure to blast waves. First described as punch-drunk syndrome and dementia pugilistica in retired boxers 1-3 , CTE has since been identified in former participants of other contact sports, ex-military personnel and after physical abuse 4-7 . No disease-modifying therapies currently exist, and diagnosis requires an autopsy. CTE is defined by an abundance of hyperphosphorylated tau protein in neurons, astrocytes and cell processes around blood vessels 8,9 . This, together with the accumulation of tau inclusions in cortical layers II and III, distinguishes CTE from Alzheimer's disease and other tauopathies 10,11 . However, the morphologies of tau filaments in CTE and the mechanisms by which brain trauma can lead to their formation are unknown. Here we determine the structures of tau filaments from the brains of three individuals with CTE at resolutions down to 2.3 Å, using cryo-electron microscopy. We show that filament structures are identical in the three cases but are distinct from those of Alzheimer's and Pick's diseases, and from those formed in vitro 12-15 . Similar to Alzheimer's disease 12,14,16-18 , all six brain tau isoforms assemble into filaments in CTE, and residues K274-R379 of three-repeat tau and S305-R379 of four-repeat tau form the ordered core of two identical C-shaped protofilaments. However, a different conformation of the β-helix region creates a hydrophobic cavity that is absent in tau filaments from the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease. This cavity encloses an additional density that is not connected to tau, which suggests that the incorporation of cofactors may have a role in tau aggregation in CTE. Moreover, filaments in CTE have distinct protofilament interfaces to those of Alzheimer's disease. Our structures provide a unifying neuropathological criterion for CTE, and support the hypothesis that the formation and propagation of distinct conformers of assembled tau underlie different neurodegenerative diseases.

  • Organizational Affiliation

    MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK.

Find similar proteins by:  (by identity cutoff)  |  3D Structure
Entity ID: 1
MoleculeChains Sequence LengthOrganismDetailsImage
Microtubule-associated protein tau
A, B, C, D, E
A, B, C, D, E, F
441Homo sapiensMutation(s): 0 
UniProt & NIH Common Fund Data Resources
Find proteins for P10636 (Homo sapiens)
Explore P10636 
Go to UniProtKB:  P10636
PHAROS:  P10636
GTEx:  ENSG00000186868 
Entity Groups  
Sequence Clusters30% Identity50% Identity70% Identity90% Identity95% Identity100% Identity
UniProt GroupP10636
Sequence Annotations
  • Reference Sequence
Experimental Data & Validation

Experimental Data

  • Resolution: 3.40 Å
  • Aggregation State: TISSUE 
  • Reconstruction Method: HELICAL 
EM Software:
TaskSoftware PackageVersion

Structure Validation

View Full Validation Report

Entry History & Funding Information

Deposition Data

Funding OrganizationLocationGrant Number
Medical Research Council (United Kingdom)United KingdomMC_UP_A025_1013
Medical Research Council (United Kingdom)United KingdomMC_U105184291
European UnionUnited KingdomJoint Programme- Neurodegeneration Research REfrAME
Innovative Medicines InitiativeUnited Kingdom116060
National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Aging (NIH/NIA)United StatesP30AG010133
National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH/NINDS)United StatesU01NS110437

Revision History  (Full details and data files)

  • Version 1.0: 2019-03-27
    Type: Initial release
  • Version 1.1: 2019-04-03
    Changes: Data collection, Database references
  • Version 1.2: 2019-05-01
    Changes: Data collection, Database references
  • Version 1.3: 2019-06-05
    Changes: Data collection
  • Version 1.4: 2019-06-12
    Changes: Data collection
  • Version 1.5: 2019-12-11
    Changes: Other
  • Version 1.6: 2022-03-30
    Changes: Author supporting evidence, Database references