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The human brain acetylome reveals that decreased acetylation of mitochondrial proteins associates with Alzheimer's disease

Journal Article
Lidan Sun, Ruchika Bhawal, Hui Xu, Huanlian Chen, Elizabeth T Anderson, Vahrum Haroutunian, Abigail C Cross, Sheng Zhang, Gary E Gibson
Year Published: 
J Neurochem. 2021 Jul;158(2):282-296. doi: 10.1111/jnc.15377. Epub 2021 May 12.
PMID: 33905124 | DOI: 10.1111/jnc.15377
Abstract on PubMed


Metabolic changes that correlate to cognitive changes are well known in AD. Metabolism is often linked to functional changes in proteins by post-translational modifications. The importance of the regulation of transcription by acetylation is well documented. Advanced mass spectrometry reveals hundreds of acetylated proteins in multiple tissues, but the acetylome of human brain, its functional significance and the changes with disease are unknown. Filling this gap is critical for understanding the pathophysiology and development of therapies. To fill this gap, we assessed the human brain acetylome in human brain and its changes with Alzheimer's Disease (AD). More than 5% of the 4,442 proteins from the human brain global proteome were acetylated. Acetylated proteins were primarily found in the cytosol (148), mitochondria (100), nucleus (91) and plasma membrane (58). The comparison of the brain acetylome in controls to that of patients with AD revealed striking and selective differences in terms of its abundances of acetylated peptides/sites. Acetylation of 18 mitochondrial proteins decreased, while acetylation of two cytosolic proteins, tau and GFAP, increased. Our experiments demonstrate that acetylation at some specific lysine sites alters enzyme function. The results indicate that general activation of de-acetylases (i.e., sirtuins) is not an appropriate therapeutic approach for AD.


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