Conditional neuronal simian virus 40 T antigen expression induces Alzheimer-like tau and amyloid pathology in mice

Kevin H.J. Park, Janice L. Hallows, Paramita Chakrabarty, Peter Davies, Inez Vincent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


A large body of evidence has shown the activation of a cohort of cell cycle regulators and the duplication of DNA in degenerating neurons of Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain. Activation of these regulators and duplication of chromosomes precede neurodegeneration and formation of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), one of the diagnostic lesions of AD. These findings, in combination with evidence for cell cycle regulation of amyloid precursor protein and tau, has led to the hypothesis that reentry into the cell cycle underlies AD pathogenesis. To test this hypothesis directly, we have created transgenic mice with forced cell cycle activation in postmitotic neurons via conditional expression of the simian virus 40 large T antigen (TAg) oncogene. We show that TAg mice recapitulate the cell cycle changes seen in AD and display a neurodegenerative phenotype accompanied by tau pathology and NFT-like profiles. Moreover, plaque-like amyloid deposits, similar to those seen in AD, are also observed in the brains of TAg mice. These data provide support for an essential role of ectopic cell cycle activation in the generation of the characteristic pathological hallmarks of AD. Furthermore, our TAg mice are the first model to develop NFTs and amyloid pathology simultaneously and in the absence of any human transgenes. These mice will be useful for further defining the nongenetic mechanisms in AD pathogenesis and for the development of cell cycle-based therapies for AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2969-2978
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 14 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Amyloid plaque
  • Cell cycle
  • Neurofibrillary tangle
  • SV40 T antigen
  • Transgenic mice


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