Proteomics, ultrastructure, and physiology of hippocampal synapses in a fragile X syndrome mouse model reveal presynaptic phenotype
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Fragile X syndrome (FXS), the most common form of hereditary mental retardation, is caused by a loss-of-function mutation of the Fmr1 gene, which encodes fragile X mental retardation protein (FMRP). FMRP affects dendritic protein synthesis, thereby causing synaptic abnormalities. Here, we used a quantitative proteomics approach in an FXS mouse model to reveal changes in levels of hippocampal synapse proteins. Sixteen independent pools of Fmr1 knock-out mice and wild type mice were analyzed using two sets of 8-plex iTRAQ experiments. Of 205 proteins quantified with at least three distinct peptides in both iTRAQ series, the abundance of 23 proteins differed between Fmr1 knock-out and wild type synapses with a false discovery rate (q-value) <5%. Significant differences were confirmed by quantitative immunoblotting. A group of proteins that are known to be involved in cell differentiation and neurite outgrowth was regulated; they included Basp1 and Gap43, known PKC substrates, and Cend1. Basp1 and Gap43 are predominantly expressed in growth cones and presynaptic terminals. In line with this, ultrastructural analysis in developing hippocampal FXS synapses revealed smaller active zones with corresponding postsynaptic densities and smaller pools of clustered vesicles, indicative of immature presynaptic maturation. A second group of proteins involved in synaptic vesicle release was up-regulated in the FXS mouse model. In accordance, paired-pulse and short-term facilitation were significantly affected in these hippocampal synapses. Together, the altered regulation of presynaptically expressed proteins, immature synaptic ultrastructure, and compromised short-term plasticity points to presynaptic changes underlying glutamatergic transmission in FXS at this stage of development. © 2011 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.