Neurofibrillary tangles, TEM

Neurofibrillary tangles, TEM

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Caption: Neurofibrillary tangles, transmission electron micrograph (TEM). These clumps of protein fibres often appear in the nerve cells of individuals with neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and Pick's disease. These fibres here are made up of tau, a protein associated with microtubules, which are the important skeleton-like structures that support the shape of cells. When a phosphate group is added to the tau molecule, it changes shape and becomes more likely to form aggregates (dark clusters seen in the left corners and lower right) referred to as neurofibrillary tangles.

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