Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are synthetic chemicals primarily used as coolants and insulators in electrical equipment. Although banned for several decades, PCBs continue to exist in the environment because of their long half-life, continued presence in items produced before the ban, and poor disposal practices. Epidemiological and experimental studies have identified exposure to PCBs as a potential risk factor for Parkinson’s disease, perhaps more so in females. The objective of this work was to examine the association between PCB levels in post-mortem human brain tissue and the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, as well as the degree of nigral depigmentation. We also sought to determine if this association was more significant when patients were stratified by sex. Post-mortem brain samples from control patients and those diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease were obtained from the Emory University Brain Bank and from the Nun Study. Concentrations of eight prevalent PCB congeners were extracted from post-mortem brain tissue and analyzed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. PCB congeners 153 and 180 were significantly elevated in the brains of Parkinson’s disease patients. When stratified by sex, the female Parkinson’s disease group demonstrated significantly elevated concentrations of total PCBs and specifically congeners 138, 153, and 180 compared to controls, whereas PCB concentrations in males were not significantly different between control and Parkinson’s disease groups. In a separate population of women (Nun Study) who had no clinical signs or symptoms of PD, elevated concentrations total PCB and congeners 138, 153 and 180 were also observed in post-mortem brain tissue exhibiting moderate nigral depigmentation compared to subjects with mild or no depigmentation. These quantitative data demonstrate an association between brain PCB levels and Parkinson’s disease-related pathology. Furthermore, these data support epidemiological and laboratory studies reporting a link between PCB exposure and an increased risk for Parkinson’s disease, including greater susceptibility of females.
Parkinson’s disease; polychlorinated biphenyl; PCB; sex; exposure; neurodegenerative disease; mass spectrometry
TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) is a nuclear protein involved in RNA splicing and a major protein component in ubiquitin-positive, tau-negative inclusions of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Under disease conditions TDP-43 redistributes to the cytoplasm where it can be phosphorylated, ubiquitinated, and proteolytically cleaved. Enzymes responsible for TDP-43 proteolytic processing in brain remain largely unreported. Using a mass spectrometry approach, we identified two truncated TDP-43 peptides, terminating C-terminal to asparagines 291 (N291) and 306 (N306). The only documented mammalian enzyme capable of cleaving C-terminal to asparagine is asparaginyl endopeptidase (AEP). TDP-43-immunoreactive fragments (~35 and 32 kDa) predicted to be generated by AEP cleavage at N291 and N306 were observed by western blot analyses of post-mortem FTLD brain tissue and cultured human cells over-expressing TDP-43. Studies in vitro determined that AEP can directly cleave TDP-43 at seven sites, including N291 and N306. Western blots of brain homogenates isolated from AEP-null mice and wild-type littermate controls revealed that TDP-43 proteolytic fragments were substantially reduced in the absence of AEP in vivo. Taken together, we conclude that TDP-43 is cleaved by AEP in brain. Moreover, these data highlight the utility of combining proteomic strategies in vitro and in vivo to provide insight into TDP-43 biology that will fuel the design of more detailed models of disease pathogenesis.
Asparaginyl endopeptidase; degradomics; frontotemporal dementia; neurodegeneration; TAR DNA-binding protein 43
Brain donation and neuropathological examination of brain tissues is the only way to obtain definitive diagnostic information on research subjects enrolled in aging studies. We investigated predictors of brain donation in a population-based study of centenarians in Phase III of the Georgia Centenarian Study (GCS).
Sixty-six individuals (mean age = 100.6 years, 91% female, 20% African American) were successfully recruited from the core sample of 244 individuals residing in 44 counties of Northeast Georgia to provide brain donation.
Bivariate (t-tests, chi-square tests) and multivariate analyses (logistic regression) showed no significant differences between donors and non-donors across a wide range of demographic, religious, personality, cognitive and physical functioning characteristics.
We succeeded in recruiting a diverse, population-based sample of centenarians for brain donation. Our findings also suggest that barriers to brain donation reported in other studies may have less impact in these exceptional survivors.
Rare mutations in the gene encoding for tau (MAPT, microtubule-associated protein tau) cause frontotemporal dementia-spectrum (FTD-s) disorders, including FTD, progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and corticobasal syndrome, and a common extended haplotype spanning across the MAPT locus is associated with increased risk of PSP and Parkinson's disease. We identified a rare tau variant (p.A152T) in a patient with a clinical diagnosis of PSP and assessed its frequency in multiple independent series of patients with neurodegenerative conditions and controls, in a total of 15 369 subjects.
Tau p.A152T significantly increases the risk for both FTD-s (n = 2139, OR = 3.0, CI: 1.6–5.6, P = 0.0005) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) (n = 3345, OR = 2.3, CI: 1.3–4.2, P = 0.004) compared with 9047 controls. Functionally, p.A152T (i) decreases the binding of tau to microtubules and therefore promotes microtubule assembly less efficiently; and (ii) reduces the tendency to form abnormal fibers. However, there is a pronounced increase in the formation of tau oligomers. Importantly, these findings suggest that other regions of the tau protein may be crucial in regulating normal function, as the p.A152 residue is distal to the domains considered responsible for microtubule interactions or aggregation. These data provide both the first genetic evidence and functional studies supporting the role of MAPT p.A152T as a rare risk factor for both FTD-s and AD and the concept that rare variants can increase the risk for relatively common, complex neurodegenerative diseases, but since no clear significance threshold for rare genetic variation has been established, some caution is warranted until the findings are further replicated.
Activation of innate and adaptive immune responses is tightly regulated, as insufficient activation could result in defective clearance of pathogens, while excessive activation might lead to lethal systemic inflammation or autoimmunity. A20 functions as a negative regulator of innate and adaptive immunity by inhibiting NF-κB activation. A20 mediates its inhibitory function in a complex with other proteins including RNF11 and Itch, both E3 ubiquitin ligases and TAX1BP1, an adaptor protein. Since NF-κB has been strongly implicated in various neuronal functions, we predict that its inhibitor, the A20 complex, is also present in the nervous system. In efforts to better understand the role of A20 complex and NF-κB signaling pathway, we determined regional distribution of A20 mRNA as well as protein expression levels and distribution of RNF11, TAX1BP1 and Itch, in different brain regions. The distribution of TRAF6 was also investigated since TRAF6, also an E3 ligase, has an important role in NF-κB signaling pathway. Our investigations, for the first time, describe and demonstrate that the essential components of the A20 ubiquitin-editing complex are present and mainly expressed in neurons. The A20 complex components are also differentially expressed throughout the human brain. This study provides useful information about region specific expression of the A20 complex components that will be invaluable while determining the role of NF-κB signaling pathway in neuronal development and degeneration.
Oxidative stress is involved in age-related cognitive decline. The dietary antioxidants, carotenoids, tocopherols, and vitamin A may play a role in the prevention or delay in cognitive decline. In this study, sera were obtained from 78 octogenarians and 220 centenarians from the Georgia Centenarian Study. Brain tissues were obtained from 47 centenarian decedents. Samples were analyzed for carotenoids, α-tocopherol, and retinol using HPLC. Analyte concentrations were compared with cognitive tests designed to evaluate global cognition, dementia, depression and cognitive domains (memory, processing speed, attention, and executive functioning). Serum lutein, zeaxanthin, and β-carotene concentrations were most consistently related to better cognition (P < 0.05) in the whole population and in the centenarians. Only serum lutein was significantly related to better cognition in the octogenarians. In brain, lutein and β-carotene were related to cognition with lutein being consistently associated with a range of measures. There were fewer significant relationships for α-tocopherol and a negative relationship between brain retinol concentrations and delayed recognition. These findings suggest that the status of certain carotenoids in the old may reflect their cognitive function. The protective effect may not be related to an antioxidant effect given that α-tocopherol was less related to cognition than these carotenoids.
A hallmark of neurodegeneration is the aggregation of disease related proteins that are resistant to detergent extraction. In the major pathological subtype of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), modified TAR-DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43), including phosphorylated, ubiquitinated and proteolytically cleaved forms, is enriched in detergent-insoluble fractions from post-mortem brain tissue. Additional proteins that accumulate in the detergent-insoluble FTLD brain proteome remain largely unknown. In this study, we used proteins from stable isotope-labeled (SILAC) human embryonic kidney 293 cells (HEK293) as internal standards for peptide quantitation across control and FTLD insoluble brain proteomes. Proteins were identified and quantified by liquid-chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) and twenty-one proteins were determined to be enriched in FTLD using SILAC internal standards. In parallel, label free quantification of only the unlabeled brain derived peptides by spectral counts (SC) and G-test analysis identified additional brain-specific proteins significantly enriched in disease. Several proteins determined to be enriched in FTLD using SILAC internal standards were not considered significant by G-test due to their low total number of SC. However immunoblotting of FTLD and control samples confirmed enrichment of these proteins, highlighting the utility of SILAC internal standard to quantify low abundance proteins in brain. Of these, the RNA binding protein PTB-associated splicing factor (PSF) was further characterized because of structural and functional similarities to TDP-43. Full-length PSF and shorter molecular weight fragments, likely resulting from proteolytic cleavage, were enriched in FTLD cases. Immunohistochemical analysis of PSF revealed predominately nuclear localization in control and FTLD brain tissue and was not associated with phosphorylated pathologic TDP-43 neuronal inclusions. However, in a subset of FTLD cases, PSF was aberrantly localized to the cytoplasm of oligodendrocytes. These data raise the possibility that PSF directed RNA processes in oligodendrocytes are altered in neurodegenerative disease.
The goals of this article are to (a) establish the concurrent and clinical validity of the Global Deterioration scale in assessing cognitive functions and stages of dementia among centenarians, (b) identify the prevalence of all-cause dementia in representative samples of centenarians, and (c) demonstrate how variations in sample demographic characteristics could significantly affect estimates of dementia prevalence. A quarter of the 244 centenarians in a population-based sample had no objective evidence of memory deficits. Another quarter showed signs of transient confusion, and about half showed classical behavioral signs of dementia with about 15% in each of Global Deterioration scale stages 4–6 and about 5% in the most severe stage 7. Variations in age, gender, race, residence status, and education of the study sample as well as criteria used for dementia rating were found to affect prevalence.
Dementia prevalence; Centenarians; Validation
The present study is a discovery mode proteomics analysis of the membrane enriched fraction of post-mortem brain tissue from Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and control cases. This study aims to validate a method to identify new proteins that could be involved in the pathogenesis of AD and potentially serve as disease biomarkers.
Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) was used to analyze the membrane enriched fraction of human post-mortem brain tissue from five AD and five control cases of similar age. Biochemical validation of specific targets was performed by immunoblotting.
1709 proteins were identified from the membrane enriched fraction of frontal cortex. Label free quantification by spectral counting and G-test analysis identified 13 proteins that were significantly changed in disease. In addition to Tau (MAPT), two additional proteins found to be enriched in AD, Ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase 1 (UCHL1), and syntaxin binding protein 1 (Munc-18), were validated through immunoblotting.
Discussion and clinical relevance
Proteomic analysis of the membrane enriched fraction of post-mortem brain tissue identifies proteins biochemically altered in AD. Further analysis of this sub-proteome may help elucidate mechanisms behind AD pathogenesis and provide new sources of biomarkers.
Alzheimer’s disease; membrane enrichment; proteomics; neurodegeneration
Abnormal neuronal aggregates of α-internexin and the three neurofilament (NF) subunits, NF-L, NF-M, and NF-H have recently been identified as the pathological hallmarks of neuronal intermediate filament (IF) inclusion disease (NIFID), a novel neurological disease of early onset with a variable clinical phenotype including frontotemporal dementia, pyramidal and extrapyramidal signs. α-Internexin, a class IV IF protein, a major component of inclusions in NIFID, has not previously been identified as a component of the pathological protein aggregates of any other neurodegenerative disease. Therefore, to determine the specificity of this protein, α-internexin immunohistochemistry was undertaken on cases of NIFID, non-tau frontotemporal dementias, motor neuron disease, α-synucleinopathies, tauopathies, and normal aged control brains. Our results indicate that class IV IF proteins are present within the pleomorphic inclusions of all cases of NIFID. Small subsets of abnormal neuronal inclusions in Alzheimer's disease, Lewy body diseases, and motor neuron disease also contain epitopes of α-internexin. Thus, α-internexin is a major component of the neuronal inclusions in NIFID and a relatively minor component of inclusions in other neurodegenerative diseases. The discovery of α-internexin in neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions implicates novel mechanisms of pathogenesis in NIFID and other neurological diseases with pathological filamentous neuronal inclusions.
α-Internexin; Neurofilament; Intermediate filament; Neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease; Frontotemporal dementia
Pesticide exposure has been implicated as an environmental risk factor for the development of Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, few studies have identified specific pesticides. Previously, we identified elevated serum levels of the organochlorine pesticide β-hexachlorocyclohexane (β-HCH) in PD patients from a small clinical sample. Here, we conducted a case-control study to confirm the association between β-HCH and PD in a larger sample size (n=283) with serum samples of PD patients and controls obtained from UT Southwestern Medical Center and Emory University. Samples were obtained from two discrete periods at both sites, 2001–2003 and 2006–2008, and were analyzed for β-HCH levels. Adjusted odds ratios (ORs) for PD were estimated using logistic regression and generalized estimating equations. The mean serum β-HCH level across all cohorts in this study was 22.3 ng/mg cholesterol (Range: 0 to 376.7), and the levels were significantly higher between samples collected in 2001–2003 vs. 2006–2008. After controlling for age and gender, the OR for increased risk of PD for every 1 ng/mg increase in serum β-HCH ranged from 1.02 – 1.12 across the four different cohorts, and 1.03 (95% CI: 1.00–1.07, p value = 0.031) in the pooled analysis. Furthermore, the OR for increased risk of PD of subjects having serum β-HCH levels above the inter-quartile range of 39.08 ng/mg cholesterol was 2.85 (95% CI: 1.8, 4.48; p value < 0.001). These data are consistent with environmental decreases in β-HCH levels between 2001 and 2008, but they indicate that elevated levels of serum β-HCH are still associated with heightened risk for PD.
organochlorine; pesticide; Parkinson’s disease; beta-hexachlorocyclohexane
Fused in sarcoma (FUS)-immunoreactive neuronal and glial inclusions define a novel molecular pathology called FUS proteinopathy. FUS has been shown to be a component of inclusions of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with FUS mutation and three FTLD entities, including neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease (NIFID). The pathogenic role of FUS is unknown. In addition to FUS, many neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCI) of NIFID contain aggregates of α-internexin and neurofilament proteins. Herein, we have: (1) shown that FUS becomes relatively insoluble in NIFID and there are no post-translational modifications; (2) shown there are no pathogenic abnormalities in the FUS gene in NIFID; (3) performed an immunoelectron microscopy analysis of the precise localizations of FUS in NIFID, as this has not previously been described. FUS localized to euchromatin, and strongly with paraspeckles, in nuclei, consistent with its RNA/DNA-binding functions. NCI of varying morphologies were observed. Most frequent were the ‘loosely aggregated cytoplasmic inclusions’ (LACI), 81% of which had moderate or high levels of FUS-immunoreactivity. Much rarer ‘compact cytoplasmic inclusions’ (CCI) and ‘Tangled twine ball inclusions’ (TTBI) were FUS-immunoreactive at their granular peripheries, or heavily FUS-positive throughout, respectively. Thus FUS may aggregate in the cytoplasm and then admix with neuronal intermediate filament accumulations.
Neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; FUS; neurofilament; α-internexin; immunoelectron microscopy
DNA methylation dynamics influence brain function and are altered in neurological disorders. 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5-hmC), a DNA base that is derived from 5-methylcytosine, accounts for ~40% of modified cytosine in the brain and has been implicated in DNA methylation–related plasticity. We mapped 5-hmC genome-wide in mouse hippocampus and cerebellum at three different ages, which allowed us to assess its stability and dynamic regulation during postnatal neurodevelopment through adulthood. We found developmentally programmed acquisition of 5-hmC in neuronal cells. Epigenomic localization of 5-hmC–regulated regions revealed stable and dynamically modified loci during neurodevelopment and aging. By profiling 5-hmC in human cerebellum, we found conserved genomic features of 5-hmC. Finally, we found that 5-hmC levels were inversely correlated with methyl-CpG–binding protein 2 dosage, a protein encoded by a gene in which mutations cause Rett syndrome. These data suggest that 5-hmC–mediated epigenetic modification is critical in neurodevelopment and diseases.
Hippocampal sclerosis is a relatively common neuropathological finding (∼10% of individuals over the age of 85 years) characterized by cell loss and gliosis in the hippocampus that is not explained by Alzheimer’s disease. Hippocampal sclerosis pathology can be associated with different underlying causes, and we refer to hippocampal sclerosis in the aged brain as hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing. Much remains unknown about hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing. We combined three different large autopsy cohorts: University of Kentucky Alzheimer’s Disease Centre, the Nun Study and the Georgia Centenarian Study to obtain a pool of 1110 patients, all of whom were evaluated neuropathologically at the University of Kentucky. We focused on the subset of cases with neuropathology-confirmed hippocampal sclerosis (n = 106). For individuals aged ≥95 years at death (n = 179 in our sample), each year of life beyond the age of 95 years correlated with increased prevalence of hippocampal sclerosis pathology and decreased prevalence of ‘definite’ Alzheimer’s disease pathology. Aberrant TAR DNA protein 43 immunohistochemistry was seen in 89.9% of hippocampal sclerosis positive patients compared with 9.7% of hippocampal sclerosis negative patients. TAR DNA protein 43 immunohistochemistry can be used to demonstrate that the disease is usually bilateral even when hippocampal sclerosis pathology is not obvious by haematoxylin and eosin stains. TAR DNA protein 43 immunohistochemistry was negative on brain sections from younger individuals (n = 10) after hippocampectomy due to seizures, who had pathologically confirmed hippocampal sclerosis. There was no association between cases with hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing and apolipoprotein E genotype. Age of death and clinical features of hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing (with or without aberrant TAR DNA protein 43) were distinct from previously published cases of frontotemporal lobar degeneration TAR DNA protein 43. To help sharpen our ability to discriminate patients with hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing clinically, the longitudinal cognitive profile of 43 patients with hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing was compared with the profiles of 75 controls matched for age, gender, education level and apolipoprotein E genotype. These individuals were followed from intake assessment, with 8.2 (average) longitudinal cognitive assessments. A neuropsychological profile with relatively high-verbal fluency but low word list recall distinguished the hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing group at intake (P < 0.015) and also 5.5–6.5 years before death (P < 0.005). This may provide a first step in clinical differentiation of hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing versus pure Alzheimer’s disease in their earliest stages. In summary, in the largest series of autopsy-verified patients with hippocampal sclerosis to date, we characterized the clinical and pathological features associated with hippocampal sclerosis associated with ageing.
biomarkers; PGRN; epilepsy; FTLD; cerebrovascular; stroke
To assess the relative frequency of unique mutations and their associated characteristics in 97 individuals with mutations in progranulin (GRN), an important cause of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD).
Participants and Design
A 46-site International Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration Collaboration was formed to collect cases of FTLD with TAR DNA-binding protein of 43-kDa (TDP-43)–positive inclusions (FTLD-TDP). We identified 97 individuals with FTLD-TDP with pathogenic GRN mutations (GRN+ FTLD-TDP), assessed their genetic and clinical characteristics, and compared them with 453 patients with FTLD-TDP in which GRN mutations were excluded (GRN− FTLD-TDP). No patients were known to be related. Neuropathologic characteristics were confirmed as FTLD-TDP in 79 of the 97 GRN+ FTLDTDP cases and all of the GRN− FTLD-TDP cases.
Age at onset of FTLD was younger in patients with GRN+ FTLD-TDP vs GRN− FTLD-TDP (median, 58.0 vs 61.0 years; P<.001), as was age at death (median, 65.5 vs 69.0 years; P<.001). Concomitant motor neuron disease was much less common in GRN+ FTLDTDP vs GRN− FTLD-TDP (5.4% vs 26.3%; P<.001). Fifty different GRN mutations were observed, including 2 novel mutations: c.139delG (p.D47TfsX7) and c.378C>A (p.C126X). The 2 most common GRN mutations were c.1477C>T (p.R493X, found in 18 patients, representing 18.6% of GRN cases) and c.26C>A (p.A9D, found in 6 patients, representing 6.2% of cases). Patients with the c.1477C>T mutation shared a haplotype on chromosome 17; clinically, they resembled patients with other GRN mutations. Patients with the c.26C>A mutation appeared to have a younger age at onset of FTLD and at death and more parkinsonian features than those with other GRN mutations.
GRN+ FTLD-TDP differs in key features from GRN− FTLD-TDP.
Neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease (NIFID), a rare form of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), is characterized neuropathologically by focal atrophy of the frontal and temporal lobes, neuronal loss, gliosis, and neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCI) containing epitopes of ubiquitin and neuronal intermediate filament proteins. Recently, the ‘fused in sarcoma’ (FUS) protein (encoded by the FUS gene) has been shown to be a component of the inclusions of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis with FUS mutation, NIFID, basophilic inclusion body disease, and atypical FTLD with ubiquitin-immunoreactive inclusions (aFTLD-U). To further characterize FUS proteinopathy in NIFID, and to determine whether the pathology revealed by FUS immunohistochemistry (IHC) is more extensive than α-internexin, we have undertaken a quantitative assessment of ten clinically and neuropathologically well-characterized cases using FUS IHC. The densities of NCI were greatest in the dentate gyrus (DG) and in sectors CA1/2 of the hippocampus. Anti-FUS antibodies also labeled glial inclusions (GI), neuronal intranuclear inclusions (NII), and dystrophic neurites (DN). Vacuolation was extensive across upper and lower cortical layers. Significantly greater densities of abnormally enlarged neurons and glial cell nuclei were present in the lower compared with the upper cortical laminae. FUS IHC revealed significantly greater numbers of NCI in all brain regions especially the DG. Our data suggest: (1) significant densities of FUS-immunoreactive NCI in NIFID especially in the DG and CA1/2; (2) infrequent FUS-immunoreactive GI, NII, and DN; (3) widely distributed vacuolation across the cortex, and (4) significantly more NCI revealed by FUS than α-internexin IHC.
Neurofilament intermediate filament inclusion disease (NIFID); ‘Fused in sarcoma’ (FUS); Neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCI); Density; Neuronal intranuclear inclusions (NII)
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by behavioral abnormalities, personality changes, language dysfunction, and can co-occur with the development of motor neuron disease. One major pathological form of FTLD is characterized by intracellular deposition of ubiquitinated and phosphorylated TAR DNA binding protein-43 (TDP-43), suggesting that dysregulation in phosphorylation events may contribute to disease progression. However, to date systematic analysis of the phosphoproteome in FTLD brains has not been reported. In this study we employed immobilized metal affinity chromatography (IMAC) followed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to identify phosphopeptides from FTLD and age-matched control postmortem human brain tissue. Using this approach we identified 786 phosphopeptides in frontal cortex (control and FTLD), in which the population of phosphopeptides represented approximately 50% of the total peptides analyzed. Label free quantification using spectral counts revealed six proteins with significant changes in the FTLD phosphoproteome. N-myc-downstream regulated gene 2 (NDRG2) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) had an increased number of phosphospectra in FTLD, whereas microtubule associated protein 1A (MAP1A), reticulon 4 (RTN4; also referred to as neurite outgrowth inhibitor (Nogo)), protein kinase C gamma (PRKCG), and heat shock protein 90kDa alpha, class A member 1(HSP90AA1) had significantly fewer phosphospectra compared to control brain. To validate these differences, we examined NDRG2 phosphorylation in FTLD brain by immunoblot analyses, and using a phosphoserine-13 (pSer13) GFAP monoclonal antibody we show an increase in pSer13 GFAP levels by immunoblot concomitant with increased overall GFAP levels in FTLD cases. These data highlight the utility of combining proteomic and phosphoproteomic strategies to characterize postmortem human brain tissue.
Frontotemporal dementia; phosphorylation; immobilized metal-affinity chromatography (IMAC); proteomics; neurodegeneration
Detergent-insoluble protein accumulation and aggregation in the brain is one of the pathological hallmarks of neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we describe the identification of septin 11 (SEPT11), an enriched component of detergent-resistant fractions in frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-immunoreactive inclusions (FTLD-U), using large-scale unbiased proteomics approaches.
We developed and applied orthogonal quantitative proteomic strategies for the unbiased identification of disease-associated proteins in FTLD-U. Using these approaches, we proteomically profiled detergent-insoluble protein extracts prepared from frontal cortex of FTLD-U cases, unaffected controls, or neurologic controls (i.e. Alzheimer's disease; AD). Among the proteins altered specifically in FTLD-U, we identified TAR DNA binding protein-43 (TDP-43), a known component of ubiquitinated inclusions. Moreover, we identified additional proteins enriched in detergent-resistant fractions in FTLD-U, and characterized one of them, SEPT11, in detail. Using independent highly sensitive targeted proteomics approaches, we confirmed the enrichment of SEPT11 in FTLD-U extracts. We further showed that SEPT11 is proteolytically cleaved into N-terminal fragments and, in addition to its prominent glial localization in normal brain, accumulates in thread-like pathology in affected cortex of FTLD-U patients.
The proteomic discovery of insoluble SEPT11 accumulation in FTLD-U, along with novel pathological associations, highlights a role for this cytoskeleton-associated protein in the pathogenesis of this complex disorder.
Neurodegeneration; dementia; proteomics; mass spectrometry; ubiquitin; aggregates
Neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease (NIFID), a rare form of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), is characterized neuropathologically by focal atrophy of the frontal and temporal lobes, neuronal loss, gliosis, and neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCI) containing epitopes of ubiquitin and neuronal intermediate filament (IF) proteins. Recently, the ‘fused in sarcoma’ (FUS) protein (encoded by the FUS gene) has been shown to be a component of the inclusions of NIFID. To further characterize FUS proteinopathy in NIFID, we studied the spatial patterns of the FUS-immunoreactive NCI in frontal and temporal cortex of 10 cases. In the cerebral cortex, sectors CA1/2 of the hippocampus, and the dentate gyrus (DG), the FUS-immunoreactive NCI were frequently clustered and the clusters were regularly distributed parallel to the tissue boundary. In a proportion of cortical gyri, cluster size of the NCI approximated to those of the columns of cells was associated with the cortico-cortical projections. There were no significant differences in the frequency of different types of spatial patterns with disease duration or disease stage. Clusters of NCI in the upper and lower cortex were significantly larger using FUS compared with phosphorylated, neurofilament heavy polypeptide (NEFH) or α-internexin (INA) immunohistochemistry (IHC). We concluded: (1) FUS-immunoreactive NCI exhibit similar spatial patterns to analogous inclusions in the tauopathies and synucleinopathies, (2) clusters of FUS-immunoreactive NCI are larger than those revealed by NEFH or IMA, and (3) the spatial patterns of the FUS-immunoreactive NCI suggest the degeneration of the cortico-cortical projections in NIFID.
Neurofilament intermediate filament inclusion disease (NIFID); ‘Fused in sarcoma’ (FUS); Neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions (NCI); Spatial pattern; Cortico-cortical projections
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) is the most common cause of dementia with pre-senile onset, accounting for as many as 20% of cases. A common subset of FTLD cases is characterized by the presence of ubiquitinated inclusions in vulnerable neurons (FTLD-U). While the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration in FTLD-U have not yet been elucidated, the presence of inclusions in this disease indicates enhanced aggregation of one or several proteins. Moreover, these inclusions suggest altered expression, processing, or degradation of proteins during FTLD-U pathogenesis. Thus, one approach to understanding disease mechanisms is to delineate the molecular changes in protein composition in FTLD-U brain. Using a combined approach consisting of laser capture microdissection (LCM) and high-resolution liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS), we identified 1252 proteins in hippocampal dentate granule cells excised from three post-mortem FTLD-U and three unaffected control cases processed in parallel. Additionally, we employed a labeling-free quantification technique to compare the abundance of the identified proteins between FTLD-U and control cases. Quantification revealed 54 proteins with selective enrichment in FTLD-U, including TAR–DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43), a recently identified component of ubiquitinated inclusions. Moreover, 19 proteins were selectively decreased in FTLD-U. Subsequent immunohistochemical analysis of TDP-43 and three additional protein candidates suggests that our proteomic profiling of FTLD-U dentate granule cells reveals both inclusion-associated proteins and non-aggregated disease-specific proteins. Application of LCM is a valuable tool in the molecular analysis of complex tissues, and its application in the proteomic characterization of neurodegenerative disorders such as FTLD-U may be used to identify proteins altered in disease.
neurodegeneration; dementia; laser capture microdissection; mass spectrometry; ubiquitin
Radiolabeled Pittsburgh compound B (PIB) is a benzothiazole imaging agent that usually binds with high affinity, specificity, and stoichiometry to cerebral β-amyloid (Aβ) in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Among a cohort of ten AD subjects examined postmortem, we describe a case of idiopathic, end-stage Alzheimer’s disease with heavy Aβ deposition yet substantially diminished high-affinity binding of 3H-PIB to cortical homogenates and unfixed cryosections. Cortical tissue samples were analyzed by immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, ELISA, immunoblotting, MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry, in vitro 3H-PIB binding and 3H-PIB autoradiography. The PIB-refractory subject met the histopathological criteria for AD. However, cortical tissue from this case contained more vascular β-amyloidosis, higher levels of insoluble Aβ40 and Aβ42, and a higher ratio of Aβ40:Aβ42 than did tissue from the nine comparison AD cases. Furthermore, cerebral Aβ from the PIB-refractory subject displayed an unusual distribution of low- and high-molecular weight Aβ oligomers, as well as a distinct pattern of N- and C-terminally truncated Aβ peptides in both the soluble and insoluble cortical extracts. Genetically, the patient was apolipoprotein-Eε4 heterozygous, and exhibited no known AD-associated mutations in the genes of the β-amyloid precursor protein, presenilin-1 or presenilin-2. Our findings suggest that PIB may differentially recognize polymorphic forms of multimeric Aβ in humans with Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, while the prevalence of PIB-refractory cases in the general AD population remains to be determined, the paucity of high-affinity binding sites in this AD case cautions that minimal PIB retention in positron-emission tomography scans of demented patients may not always rule out the presence of Alzheimer-type Aβ pathology.
Alzheimer; amyloid-beta; cerebral amyloid angiopathy; diagnosis; imaging; PIB; senile plaques
Studies suggest that frontotemporal lobar degeneration with transactive response DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa (TDP-43) proteinopathy (FTLD-TDP) is heterogeneous with division into four or five subtypes. To determine the degree of heterogeneity and the validity of the subtypes, we studied neuropathological variation within the frontal and temporal lobes of 94 cases of FTLD-TDP using quantitative estimates of density and principal components analysis (PCA). A PCA based on the density of TDP-43 immunoreactive neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions, oligodendroglial inclusions, neuronal intranuclear inclusions, and dystrophic neurites, surviving neurons, enlarged neurons, and vacuolation suggested that cases were not segregated into distinct subtypes. Variation in the density of the vacuoles was the greatest source of variation between cases. A PCA based on TDP-43 pathology alone suggested that cases of FTLD-TDP with progranulin (GRN) mutation segregated to some degree. The pathological phenotype of all four subtypes overlapped but subtypes 1 and 4 were the most distinctive. Cases with coexisting motor neuron disease (MND) or hippocampal sclerosis (HS) also appeared to segregate to some extent. We suggest: (1) pathological variation in FTLD-TDP is best described as a ‘continuum’ without clearly distinct subtypes, (2) vacuolation was the single greatest source of variation and reflects the ‘stage’ of the disease, and (3) within the FTLD-TDP ‘continuum’ cases with GRN mutation and with coexisting MND or HS may have a more distinctive pathology.
Frontotemporal lobar degeneration with TDP-43 proteinopathy; FTLD with ubiquitin-positive inclusions; TAR DNA-binding protein of 43 kDa; Neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions; Neuropathologic heterogeneity; Principal components analysis
Protein glycosylation regulates protein function and cellular distribution. Additionally, aberrant protein glycosylations have been recognized to play major roles in human disorders, including neurodegenerative diseases. Glycoproteomics, a branch of proteomics that catalogs and quantifies glycoproteins, provides a powerful means to systematically profile the glycopeptides or glycoproteins of a complex mixture that are highly enriched in body fluids, and therefore, carry great potential to be diagnostic and/or prognostic markers. Application of this mass spectrometry-based technology to the study of neurodegenerative disorders (e.g., Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease) is relatively new, and is expected to provide insight into the biochemical pathogenesis of neurodegeneration, as well as biomarker discovery. In this review, we have summarized the current understanding of glycoproteins in biology and neurodegenerative disease, and have discussed existing proteomic technologies that are utilized to characterize glycoproteins. Some of the ongoing studies, where glycoproteins isolated from cerebrospinal fluid and human brain are being characterized in Parkinson's disease at different stages versus controls, are presented, along with future applications of targeted validation of brain specific glycoproteins in body fluids.
glycoproteomics; mass spectrometry; Alzheimer's diseases; Parkinson's disease; biomarkers; cerebrospinal fluids
Neurodegenerative diseases are often defined pathologically by the presence of protein aggregates. These aggregates, including amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), result from the abnormal accumulation and processing of proteins, and may ultimately lead to neuronal dysfunction and cell death. To date, conventional biochemical studies have revealed abundant core components in protein aggregates. However, rapidly improving proteomics technologies offer opportunities to revisit pathologic aggregate composition, and to identify less abundant but potentially important functional molecules that participate in neurodegeneration. The purpose of this study was to establish a proteomic strategy for the profiling of neurodegenerative disease tissues for disease-specific changes in protein abundance. Using high resolution liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) we analyzed detergent-insoluble frontal cortex samples from AD and unaffected control cases. In addition, we analyzed samples from frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) cases to identify AD-specific changes not present in other neurodegenerative diseases. We used a labeling-free quantification technique to compare the abundance of identified peptides in the samples based on extracted ion current (XIC) of their corresponding ions. Of the 512 identified proteins, quantitation demonstrated significant changes in 81 AD-specific proteins. Following additional manual filtering, 11 proteins were accepted with high confidence as increased in AD compared to control and FTLD brains, including β-amyloid, tau and apolipoprotein E, all well-established AD-linked proteins. In addition, we identified and validated the presence of serine protease 15, ankyrin B, and 14-3-3η in the detergent-insoluble fraction. Our results provide further evidence for the capacity of proteomics applications to identify conserved sets of disease-specific proteins in AD, to enhance our understanding of disease pathogenesis, and to deliver new candidates for the development of effective therapies for this, and other, devastating neurodegenerative disorders.
Proteomics; Alzheimer’s disease; Detergent-insoluble fractions