Quantitative proteomics analysis of differential protein expression and oxidative modification of specific proteins in the brains of old mice

H. Fai Poon, Radhika A. Vaishnav, Thomas V. Getchell, Marilyn L. Getchell, D. Allan Butterfield

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


The brain is susceptible to oxidative stress, which is associated with age-related brain dysfunction, because of its high content of peroxidizable unsaturated fatty acids, high oxygen consumption per unit weight, high content of key components for oxidative damage, and the relative scarcity of antioxidant defense systems. Protein oxidation, which results in functional disruption, is not random but appears to be associated with increased oxidation in specific proteins. By using a proteomics approach, we have compared the protein levels and specific protein carbonyl levels, an index of oxidative damage in the brains of old mice, to these parameters in the brains of young mice and have identified specific proteins that are altered as a function of aging. We show here that the expression levels of dihydropyrimidinase-like 2 (DRP2), α-enolase (ENO1), dynamin-1 (DNM1), and lactate dehydrogenase 2 (LDH2) were significantly increased in the brains of old versus young mice; the expression levels of three unidentified proteins were significantly decreased. The specific carbonyl levels of β-actin (ACTB), glutamine synthase (GS), and neurofilament 66 (NF-66) as well as a novel protein were significantly increased, indicating protein oxidation, in the brains of old versus young mice. These results were validated by immunochemistry. In addition, enzyme activity assays demonstrated that oxidation was associated with decreased GS activity, while the activity of lactate dehydrogenase was unchanged in spite of an up-regulation of LDH2 levels. Several of the up-regulated and oxidized proteins in the brains of old mice identified in this report are known to be oxidized in neurodegenerative diseases as well, suggesting that these proteins may be particularly susceptible to processes associated with neurodegeneration. Our results establish an initial basis for understanding protein alterations that may lead to age-related cellular dysfunction in the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1010-1019
Number of pages10
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2006

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by grants from NIH to D.A.B. [AG-05119; AG-10836], and to T.V.G. [AG-16824].


  • Dihydropyrimidinase-like 2
  • Glutamine synthase
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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