The enzyme heparan sulphate 3-O-sulphotransferase 2 (HS3ST2) was expressed significantly more frequently in the hippocampi of Alzheimer’s patients than in the brains of controls, according to a study.

The study showed that 3-O-sulphated heparan sulphates, which are produced by the HS3ST2 enzyme, cause tau proteins to be abnormally phosphorylated.

The study results “position intracellular 3-O-sulphated heparan sulphates, and the enzymes responsible for their high sulphation in neurons, as central modulators of tau abnormal phosphorylation before it occurs,” wrote PhD student Julia Elisa Sepulveda-Diaz of Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, and her colleagues. “This opens a wide area of research in the field of glyco-neurobiology, positioning HS3ST2 and its products as potential key players in the development and evolution of tau pathology, with the therapeutic consequences that this implies,” the researchers noted. Read the full study in Brain ( 10.1093/brain/awv056 ).

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