Bimolecular fluorescence complementation; Lighting-up tau-tau interaction in living cells

Hye Jin Tak, Md Mamunul Haque, Min Jung Kim, Joo Hyun Lee, Ja Hyun Baik, Young Soo Kim, Dong Jin Kim, Regis Grailhe, Yun Kyung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Abnormal tau aggregation is a pathological hallmark of many neurodegenerative disorders and it is becoming apparent that soluble tau aggregates play a key role in neurodegeneration and memory impairment. Despite this pathological importance, there is currently no single method that allows monitoring soluble tau species in living cells. In this regard, we developed a cell-based sensor that visualizes tau self-assembly. By introducing bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) technique to tau, we were able to achieve spatial and temporal resolution of tau-tau interactions in a range of states, from soluble dimers to large aggregates. Under basal conditions, tau-BiFC cells exhibited little fluorescence intensity, implying that the majority of tau molecules exist as monomers. Upon chemically induced tau hyperphosphorylation, BiFC fluorescence greatly increased, indicating an increased level of tau-tau interactions. As an indicator of tau assembly, our BiFC sensor would be a useful tool for investigating tau pathology.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere81682
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Dec 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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