Metabolic turnover of synaptic proteins: kinetics, interdependencies and implications for synaptic maintenance.

2013/05/02

Cohen LD, Zuchman R, Sorokina O, Müller A, Dieterich DC, Armstrong JD, Ziv T, Ziv NE.

PLoS One. 2013 May 2;8(5):e63191. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0063191. Print 2013. OpenAccess Publication


Chemical synapses contain multitudes of proteins, which in common with all proteins, have finite lifetimes and therefore need to be continuously replaced. Given the huge numbers of synaptic connections typical neurons form, the demand to maintain the protein contents of these connections might be expected to place considerable metabolic demands on each neuron. Moreover, synaptic proteostasis might differ according to distance from global protein synthesis sites, the availability of distributed protein synthesis facilities, trafficking rates and synaptic protein dynamics. To date, the turnover kinetics of synaptic proteins have not been studied or analyzed systematically, and thus metabolic demands or the aforementioned relationships remain largely unknown. In the current study we used dynamic Stable Isotope Labeling with Amino acids in Cell culture (SILAC), mass spectrometry (MS), Fluorescent Non-Canonical Amino acid Tagging (FUNCAT), quantitative immunohistochemistry and bioinformatics to systematically measure the metabolic half-lives of hundreds of synaptic proteins, examine how these depend on their pre/postsynaptic affiliation or their association with particular molecular complexes, and assess the metabolic load of synaptic proteostasis. We found that nearly all synaptic proteins identified here exhibited half-lifetimes in the range of 2-5 days. Unexpectedly, metabolic turnover rates were not significantly different for presynaptic and postsynaptic proteins, or for proteins for which mRNAs are consistently found in dendrites. Some functionally or structurally related proteins exhibited very similar turnover rates, indicating that their biogenesis and degradation might be coupled, a possibility further supported by bioinformatics-based analyses. The relatively low turnover rates measured here (∼0.7% of synaptic protein content per hour) are in good agreement with imaging-based studies of synaptic protein trafficking, yet indicate that the metabolic load synaptic protein turnover places on individual neurons is very substantial.

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