Selective upregulation of the ubiquitin-proteasome proteolytic pathway proteins, proteasome zeta chain and isopeptidase T in fetal Down syndrome

  • E. Engidawork
  • J.-F. Juranville
  • M. Fountoulakis
  • M. Dierssen
  • G. Lubec


The ubiquitin-proteasome proteolytic pathway is involved in an important non-lysosomal proteolytic pathway that is responsible for the highly selective turnover of cellular proteins both under basal metabolic conditions as well as stress. Protein degradation by this pathway is attributed to the 20S proteasome that forms the catalytic core of the complex. Recently there has been increasing interest in the proteasome because of its possible role in neuron degeneration and death. Fetal Down syndrome (DS) neurons were demonstrated to degenerate and undergo apoptosis in vitro. We therefore investigated the expression of different proteins involved in this degradative pathway, including subunits of the 20S proteasome, ubiquitinating and deubiquitinating enzymes, and regulatory subunits of the 26S proteasome in control and DS fetal brains by two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE). After 2-DE, approximately 389 protein spots were successfully identified by matrix-associated laser desorption ionization mass spectroscopy (MALDI-MS) and this was followed by quantification of twenty three proteins of the pathway. The results indicate that all but two proteins exhibited no apparent alterations in their pattern of expression. Proteasome zeta chain, an alpha subunit of the 20S proteasome (P < 0.05) and ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase T (Isopeptidase T), a deubiquitinating enzyme (P < 0.001) were significantly increased in fetal DS compared to controls. Whilst the expression of proteasome iota (n = 9, r = -0.9489, P = 0.0004) and proteasome epsilon (n = 9, r = -0.7227, P = 0.0311) chains was decreased with age in fetal DS brain, no significant correlation was obtained in the other proteins with age. The data suggest that such selective upregulation may have relevance to the developmental abnormalities that characterize this disorder.


Down Syndrome Beta Subunit Polyubiquitin Chain Ubiquitin Chain Deubiquitinating Enzyme 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Engidawork
    • 1
  • J.-F. Juranville
    • 2
  • M. Fountoulakis
    • 2
  • M. Dierssen
    • 3
  • G. Lubec
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.F. Hoffman-La RocheBaselSwitzerland
  3. 3.Medical and Molecular Genetics CenterIRO Hospital Duran i ReynalsBarcelonaSpain

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