Open Access Open Badges Research article

Role of p73 in Alzheimer disease: lack of association in mouse models or in human cohorts

Badri Vardarajan1, David Vergote2, Fadel Tissir3, Mark Logue1, Jing Yang2, Nathalie Daude2, Kunie Ando4, Ekaterina Rogaeva5, Joseph Lee6, Rong Cheng6, Jean-Pierre Brion4, Mahdi Ghani5, Beipei Shi2, Clinton T Baldwin17, Satyabrata Kar2, Richard Mayeux6, Paul Fraser5, André M Goffinet3, Peter St George-Hyslop58, Lindsay A Farrer19* and David Westaway2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine (Biomedical Genetics), Boston University School of Medicine, 715 Albany Street, Boston, MA 02118, USA

2 Centre for Prions and Protein Folding Diseases, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2M8, Canada

3 Developmental Neurobiology, Institute of Neuroscience, Université catholique de Louvain, B1200, Brussels, Belgium

4 Laboratory of Histology, Neuroanatomy and Neuropathology, Université Libre de Bruxelles, B1070, Brussels, Belgium

5 Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases, Departments of Medicine, Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, and Toronto Western Hospital Research Institute, Toronto, ON, Canada

6 The Taub Institute on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain, The Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center, College of Physicians Surgeons, Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA

7 Center for Human Genetics, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA

8 Cambridge Institute for Medical Research and Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

9 Departments of Neurology, Ophthalmology, Genetics & Genomics, Epidemiology, and Biostatistics, Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health, Boston, MA, USA

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Molecular Neurodegeneration 2013, 8:10  doi:10.1186/1750-1326-8-10

Published: 15 February 2013



P73 belongs to the p53 family of cell survival regulators with the corresponding locus Trp73 producing the N-terminally distinct isoforms, TAp73 and DeltaNp73. Recently, two studies have implicated the murine Trp73 in the modulation in phospho-tau accumulation in aged wild type mice and in young mice modeling Alzheimer’s disease (AD) suggesting that Trp73, particularly the DeltaNp73 isoform, links the accumulation of amyloid peptides to the creation of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs). Here, we reevaluated tau pathologies in the same TgCRND8 mouse model as the previous studies.


Despite the use of the same animal models, our in vivo studies failed to demonstrate biochemical or histological evidence for misprocessing of tau in young compound Trp73+/- + TgCRND8 mice or in aged Trp73+/- mice analyzed at the ages reported previously, or older. Secondly, we analyzed an additional mouse model where the DeltaNp73 was specifically deleted and confirmed a lack of impact of the DeltaNp73 allele, either in heterozygous or homozygous form, upon tau pathology in aged mice. Lastly, we also examined human TP73 for single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and/or copy number variants in a meta-analysis of 10 AD genome-wide association datasets. No SNPs reached significance after correction for multiple testing and no duplications/deletions in TP73 were found in 549 cases of AD and 544 non-demented controls.


Our results fail to support P73 as a contributor to AD pathogenesis.

P73; Alzheimer’s disease; Animal models; GWAS