The proteome of neurofilament-containing protein aggregates in blood.
ABSTRACT: Protein aggregation in biofluids is a poorly understood phenomenon. Under normal physiological conditions, fluid-borne aggregates may contain plasma or cell proteins prone to aggregation. Recent observations suggest that neurofilaments (Nf), the building blocks of neurons and a biomarker of neurodegeneration, are included in high molecular weight complexes in circulation. The composition of these Nf-containing hetero-aggregates (NCH) may change in systemic or organ-specific pathologies, providing the basis to develop novel disease biomarkers. We have tested ultracentrifugation (UC) and a commercially available protein aggregate binder, Seprion PAD-Beads (SEP), for the enrichment of NCH from plasma of healthy individuals, and then characterised the Nf content of the aggregate fractions using gel electrophoresis and their proteome by mass spectrometry (MS). Western blot analysis of fractions obtained by UC showed that among Nf isoforms, neurofilament heavy chain (NfH) was found within SDS-stable high molecular weight aggregates. Shotgun proteomics of aggregates obtained with both extraction techniques identified mostly cell structural and to a lesser extent extra-cellular matrix proteins, while functional analysis revealed pathways involved in inflammatory response, phagosome and prion-like protein behaviour. UC aggregates were specifically enriched with proteins involved in endocrine, metabolic and cell-signalling regulation. We describe the proteome of neurofilament-containing aggregates isolated from healthy individuals biofluids using different extraction methods.
Project description:To investigate the role of longitudinal plasma neurofilament heavy chain protein (NfH) levels as an indicator of clinical progression and survival in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).A cross-sectional study involving 136 clinically heterogeneous patients with ALS and 104 healthy and neurological controls was extended to include a prospective analysis of 74 of these ALS cases, with samplings at approximately 3-month intervals in a follow-up period of up to 3 years. We analysed the correlation between longitudinal NfH-phosphoform levels and disease progression. Temporal patterns of NfH changes were evaluated using multilevel linear regression.Baseline plasma NfH levels were higher than controls only in patients with ALS with short disease duration to baseline sampling. Compared with controls, fast-progressing patients with ALS, particularly those with a short diagnostic latency and disease duration, had higher plasma NfH levels at an early stage and lower levels closer to end-stage disease. Lower NfH levels between visits were associated with rapid functional deterioration. We also detected antibodies against NfH, NfH aggregates and NfH cleavage products.Disease progression in ALS involves defined trajectories of plasma NfH levels, reflecting speed of neurological decline and survival. Intervisit plasma NfH changes are also indicative of disease progression. This study confirms that longitudinal measurements of NfH plasma levels are more informative than cross-sectional studies, where the time of sampling may represent a bias in the interpretation of the results. Autoantibodies against NfH aggregates and NfH cleavage products may explain the variable expression of plasma NfH with disease progression.NIHRID6160.
Project description:Neurofilaments possess side arms that comprise the carboxy-terminal domains of neurofilament middle and heavy chains (NFM and NFH); that of NFH is heavily phosphorylated in axons. Here, we demonstrate that phosphorylation of NFH side arms is a mechanism for regulating transport of neurofilaments through axons. Mutants in which known NFH phosphorylation sites were mutated to preclude phosphorylation or mimic permanent phosphorylation display altered rates of transport in a bulk transport assay. Similarly, application of roscovitine, an inhibitor of the NFH side arm kinase Cdk5/p35, accelerates neurofilament transport. Analyses of neurofilament movement in transfected living neurons demonstrated that a mutant mimicking permanent phosphorylation spent a higher proportion of time pausing than one that could not be phosphorylated. Thus, phosphorylation of NFH slows neurofilament transport, and this is due to increased pausing in neurofilament movement.
Project description:Neurofilament proteins (Nf) are a biomarker of disease progression in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This study investigated whether there are major differences in expression from in vivo measurements of neurofilament isoforms, from the light chain, NfL (68 kDa), compared with larger proteins, the medium chain (NfM, 150 kDa) and the heavy (NfH, 200-210 kDa) chains in ALS patients and healthy controls. New immunological methods were combined with Nf subunit stoichiometry calculations and Monte Carlo simulations of a coarse-grained Nf brush model. Based on a physiological Nf subunit stoichiometry of 7 : 3 : 2 (NfL:NfM:NfH), we found an 'adaptive' Nf subunit stoichiometry of 24 : 2.4 : 1.6 in ALS. Adaptive Nf stoichiometry preserved NfL gyration radius in the Nf brush model. The energy and time requirements for Nf translation were 56 ± 27k ATP (5.6 h) in control subjects compared to 123 ± 102k (12.3 h) in ALS with 'adaptive' (24:2.4:1.6) Nf stoichiometry (not significant) and increased significantly to 355 ± 330k (35.5 h) with 'luxury' (7:3:2) Nf subunit stoichiometry (p < 0.0001 for each comparison). Longitudinal disease progression-related energy consumption was highest with a 'luxury' (7:3:2) Nf stoichiometry. Therefore, an energy and time-saving option for motor neurons is to shift protein expression from larger to smaller (cheaper) subunits, at little or no costs on a protein structural level, to compensate for increased energy demands.
Project description:Synaptic roles for neurofilament (NF) proteins have rarely been considered. Here, we establish all four NF subunits as integral resident proteins of synapses. Compared with the population in axons, NF subunits isolated from synapses have distinctive stoichiometry and phosphorylation state, and respond differently to perturbations in vivo. Completely eliminating NF proteins from brain by genetically deleting three subunits (?-internexin, NFH and NFL) markedly depresses hippocampal long-term potentiation induction without detectably altering synapse morphology. Deletion of NFM in mice, but not the deletion of any other NF subunit, amplifies dopamine D1-receptor-mediated motor responses to cocaine while redistributing postsynaptic D1-receptors from endosomes to plasma membrane, consistent with a specific modulatory role of NFM in D1-receptor recycling. These results identify a distinct pool of synaptic NF subunits and establish their key role in neurotransmission in vivo, suggesting potential novel influences of NF proteins in psychiatric as well as neurological states.
Project description:Protein aggregates containing intermediate filaments (IFs) are a hallmark of degenerating spinal motor neurons in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Recently, we reported that a deficiency in neurofilament light subunit (NF-L), a phenomenon associated with ALS, promoted the formation of IF inclusions with ensuing motor neuron death in transgenic mice overproducing peripherin, a type III IF protein detected in axonal inclusions of ALS patients. To further assess the role of NF-L in the formation of abnormal IF inclusions, we generated transgenic mice overexpressing human neurofilament heavy subunits (hNF-H) in a context of targeted disruption of the NF-L gene (hH;L-/- mice). The hH;L-/- mice exhibited motor dysfunction, and they developed nonfilamentous protein aggregates containing NF-H and peripherin proteins in the perikarya of spinal motor neurons. However, the perikaryal protein aggregates in the hH;L-/- mice did not provoke motor neuron death, unlike toxic IF inclusions induced by peripherin overexpression in NF-L null mice (Per;L-/- mice). Our results indicate that different types of IF protein aggregates with distinct properties may occur in a context of NF-L deficiency and that an axonal localization of such aggregates may be an important factor of toxicity.
Project description:Lamotrigine trial in SPMS was a randomised control trial to assess whether partial blockade of sodium channels has a neuroprotective effect. The current study was an additional study to investigate the value of neurofilament (NfH) and other biomarkers in predicting prognosis and/or response to treatment.SPMS patients who attended the NHNN or the Royal Free Hospital, UK, eligible for inclusion were invited to participate in the biomarker study. Primary outcome was whether lamotrigine would significantly reduce detectable serum NfH at 0-12, 12-24 and 0-24 months compared to placebo. Other serum/plasma and CSF biomarkers were also explored.Treatment effect by comparing absolute changes in NfH between the lamotrigine and placebo group showed no difference, however based on serum lamotrigine adherence there was significant decline in NfH (NfH 12-24 months p=0.043, Nfh 0-24 months p=0.023). Serum NfH correlated with disability: walking times, 9-HPT (non-dominant hand), PASAT, z-score, MSIS-29 (psychological) and EDSS and MRI cerebral atrophy and MTR. Other biomarkers explored in this study were not found to be significantly associated, aside from that of plasma osteopontin.The relations between NfH and clinical scores of disability and MRI measures of atrophy and disease burden support NfH being a potential surrogate endpoint complementing MRI in neuroprotective trials and sample sizes for such trials are presented here. We did not observe a reduction in NfH levels between the Lamotrigine and placebo arms, however, the reduction in serum NfH levels based on lamotrigine adherence points to a possible neuroprotective effect of lamotrigine on axonal degeneration.
Project description:Background:Glomalin-related soil protein (GRSP) and soil organic carbon (SOC) contribute to the formation and stability of soil aggregates, but the mechanism by which global atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition changes soil aggregate stability by altering the distribution of GRSP and SOC in different aggregate fractions remains unknown. Methods:We used a gradient N addition (0-9 g N m-2 y-1) in Pinus tabulaeformis forest for two years in northeast China and then examined the changes in SOC contents, total GRSP (T-GRSP), and easily extractable GRSP (EE-GRSP) contents in three soil aggregate fractions (macro-aggregate: >250 ?m, micro-aggregate: 250-53 ?m, and fine material: <53 ?m) and their relationship with aggregate stability. Results:(1) The soil was dominated by macro-aggregates. Short term N addition had no significant effect on mean weight diameter (MWD) and geometric mean diameter (GMD). (2) GRSP varied among aggregate fractions, and N addition had different effects on the distribution of GRSP in aggregate fractions. The EE-GRSP content in the macro-aggregates increased initially and then decreased with increasing N addition levels, having a peak value of 0.480 mg g-1 at 6 g N m-2 y-1. The micro-aggregates had the lowest EE-GRSP content (0.148 mg g-1) at 6 g N m-2 y-1. Furthermore, the T-GRSP content significantly increased in the aggregate fractions with the N addition levels. (3) The macro-aggregate had the highest SOC content, followed by the micro-aggregate and the fine material had the lowest SOC content. N addition significantly increased the SOC content in all the aggregate fractions. (4) GRSP and SOC contents were not significantly correlated with MWD. Conclusion:Glomalin-related soil protein and SOC contents increased by N addition, but this increase did not enhance aggregate stability in short term, and the improvement of stability might depend on binding agents and incubation time.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is an incurable neurodegenerative disorder characterised by progressive degeneration of motor neurons leading to death, typically within 3-5 years of symptom onset. The diagnosis of ALS is largely reliant on clinical assessment and electrophysiological findings. Neither specific investigative tools nor reliable biomarkers are currently available to enable an early diagnosis or monitoring of disease progression, hindering the design of treatment trials.In this study, using the well-established SOD1(G93A) mouse model of ALS and a new in-house ELISA method, we have validated that plasma neurofilament heavy chain protein (NfH) levels correlate with both functional markers of late stage disease progression and treatment response. We detected a significant increase in plasma levels of phosphorylated NfH during disease progression in SOD1(G93A) mice from 105 days onwards. Moreover, increased plasma NfH levels correlated with the decline in muscle force, motor unit survival and, more significantly, with the loss of spinal motor neurons in SOD1 mice during this critical period of decline. Importantly, mice treated with the disease modifying compound arimoclomol had lower plasma NfH levels, suggesting plasma NfH levels could be validated as an outcome measure for treatment trials.These results show that plasma NfH levels closely reflect later stages of disease progression and therapeutic response in the SOD1(G93A) mouse model of ALS and may potentially be a valuable biomarker of later disease progression in ALS.
Project description:Aggregation of polyglutamine-expanded huntingtin exon 1 (HttEx1) in Huntington's disease (HD) proceeds from soluble oligomers to late-stage inclusions. The nature of the aggregates and how they lead to neuronal dysfunction is not well understood. We employed mass spectrometry (MS)-based quantitative proteomics to dissect spatiotemporal mechanisms of neurodegeneration using the R6/2 mouse model of HD. Extensive remodeling of the soluble brain proteome correlated with insoluble aggregate formation during disease progression. In-depth and quantitative characterization of the aggregates uncovered an unprecedented complexity of several hundred proteins. Sequestration to aggregates depended on protein expression levels and sequence features such as low-complexity regions or coiled-coil domains. In a cell-based HD model, overexpression of a subset of the sequestered proteins in most cases rescued viability and reduced aggregate size. Our spatiotemporally resolved proteome resource of HD progression indicates that widespread loss of cellular protein function contributes to aggregate-mediated toxicity.
Project description:Investigating microbial metabolic characteristics and soil organic carbon (SOC) within aggregates and their relationships under conservation tillage may be useful in revealing the mechanism of SOC sequestration in conservation tillage systems. However, limited studies have been conducted to investigate the relationship between SOC and microbial metabolic characteristics within aggregate fractions under conservation tillage. We hypothesized that close relationships can exist between SOC and microbial metabolic characteristics within aggregates under conservation tillage. In this study, a field experiment was conducted from June 2011 to June 2013 following a split-plot design of a randomized complete block with tillage practices [conventional intensive tillage (CT) and no tillage (NT)] as main plots and straw returning methods [preceding crop residue returning (S, 2100-2500 kg C ha-1) and removal (NS, 0 kg C ha(-1))] as subplots with three replications. The objective of this study was to reveal the effects of tillage practices and residue-returning methods on topsoil microbial metabolic characteristics and organic carbon (SOC) fractions within aggregates and their relationships under a rice-wheat cropping system in central China. Microbial metabolic characteristics investigated using the Biolog system was examined within two aggregate fractions (>0.25 and <0.25 mm). NT treatments significantly increased SOC concentration of bulk soil, >0.25 aggregate, and <0.25 mm aggregate in the 0-5 cm soil layer by 5.8%, 6.8% and 7.9% relative to CT treatments, respectively. S treatments had higher SOC concentration of bulk soil (12.9%), >0.25 mm aggregate (11.3%), and <0.25 mm aggregate (14.1%) than NS treatments. Compared with CT treatments, NT treatments increased MBC by 11.2%, 11.5%, and 20%, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration by 15.5%, 29.5%, and 14.1% of bulk soil, >0.25 mm aggregate, and <0.25 mm aggregate in the 0-5 cm soil layer, respectively. Compared with NS treatments, S treatments significantly increased MBC by 29.8%, 30.2%, and 24.1%, and DOC concentration by 23.2%, 25.0%, and 37.5% of bulk soil, >0.25 mm aggregate, and <0.25 mm aggregate in the 0-5 cm soil layer, respectively. Conservation tillage (NT and S) increased microbial metabolic activities and Shannon index in >0.25 and <0.25 mm aggregates in the 0-5 cm soil layer. Redundancy analysis showed that the SOC and its fractions (DOC and MBC) were closely correlated with microbial metabolic activities. Structural equation modelling showed that the increase in microbial metabolic activities directly improved SOC by promoting DOC in >0.25 mm aggregate in the upper (0-5 cm) soil layer under conservation tillage systems, as well as directly and indirectly by promoting DOC and MBC in <0.25 mm aggregate. Our results suggested that conservation tillage increased SOC in aggregates in the topsoil by improving microbial metabolic activities.