Surgery News

Researchers report most complete list so far of the proteins present in the cerebral cortex

September 14, 2015

The cerebral cortex is also the part of the brain that contains the hallmarks of many neurodegenerative diseases, so these results could help understand how such diseases develop and maybe find ways to slow it down.

Most neurodegenerative diseases develop in specific regions of the brain. For instance, loss of neurons due to Alzheimer's disease (AD) occur mostly in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus, and degeneration of neurons in Parkinson's disease largely centers on an area in the back of the brain called the brainstem ?? at least in the early stage of the disease.

Jing Zhang and colleagues identified over 800 different proteins in a part of the cortex near the forehead called the frontal cortex. This region of the brain is involved in many neurodegenerative diseases in which intellectual function deteriorates over time, including AD, Parkinson's disease with dementia (PDD), and dementia with Lewy body (DLB) disease, and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD).

The proteins identified in this study perform various functions inside the cell, such as the transport of other proteins, the activation of neighboring proteins, and the catalysis of biochemical reactions. Among these proteins, the scientists found that at least half a dozen are known to be associated with neurodegenerative diseases, but examining the role of the other proteins may show that some of them also are involved in these diseases.

The scientists also found that 17 percent of the identified proteins are also present in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) ?? a watery fluid that surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord. Since proteins in the CSF are more accessible clinically than those in the cortex, understanding how proteins present in both the frontal cortex and CSF are involved in neurodegenerative diseases could help improve their diagnosis and assess disease progression.

Taken together, the proteins identified in this study provide important information to ultimately understand how the frontal cortex works and what goes wrong in many neurodegenerative diseases, the researchers conclude. Zhang and his team are now trying to determine the most comprehensive list of all the proteins that are working in other brain regions, such as the middle brain, which is heavily involved in movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease.

Article: ???Proteomics Identification of Proteins in Human Cortex Using Multidimensional Separations and MALDI Tandem Mass Spectrometer,??? by Sheng Pan, Min Shi, Jinghua Jin, Roger L. Albin, Andy Lieberman, Marla Gearing, Biaoyang Lin, Catherine Pan, Xiaowei Yan, Daniel T. Kashima, and Jing Zhang

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization with over 11,900 members in the United States and internationally. Most members teach and conduct research at colleges and universities. Others conduct research in various government laboratories, nonprofit research institutions and industry. The Society's student members attend undergraduate or graduate institutions.

Founded in 1906, the Society is based in Bethesda, Maryland, on the campus of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. The Society's purpose is to advance the science of biochemistry and molecular biology through publication of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, the Journal of Lipid Research, and Molecular and Cellular Proteomics, organization of scientific meetings, advocacy for funding of basic research and education, support of science education at all levels, and promoting the diversity of individuals entering the scientific work force.

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