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Volume 598 Issue 7880, 14 October 2021

Protein misfolds

The protein tau is believed to stabilize the skeleton that shapes nerve cells, but in neurodegenerative diseases known as tauopathies, tau misfolds and stacks together to form filaments. In this week’s issue, Sjors Scheres, Michel Goedert and their colleagues build on their previous work identifying different folds of tau filaments present in conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. They reveal four additional folds relating to specific diseases, including progressive supranuclear palsy and argyrophilic grain disease. The researchers then use the various folds to determine a structure-based hierarchical classification of tauopathies. This classification complements clinical diagnosis and post-mortem neuropathology, and can be used to identify new entities. The cover image shows some of the different tau filaments that are so far correlated with specific diseases.

Cover image: Yang Shi (copyright: MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology)

This Week

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News in Focus

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  • News & Views

    • A sophisticated climate model suggests that liquid-water oceans never formed on Venus, and that some planets outside the Solar System that were thought to be habitable might not be.

      • James F. Kasting
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    • In diseases called tauopathies, misfolded tau proteins form aggregates called fibrils. Fibrils from nine different tauopathies show that tau misfolds in many ways, enabling the diseases to be classified according to fibril structure.

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Career Guide

  • How machine intelligence is becoming a powerful tool for interdisciplinary scientists.

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