Abnormal ER quality control of neural GPI-anchored proteins via dysfunction in ER export processing in the frontal cortex of elderly subjects with schizophrenia

Academic Article


  • Abnormalities of posttranslational protein modifications (PTMs) have recently been implicated in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. Glycosylphosphatidylinositols (GPIs) are a class of complex glycolipids, which anchor surface proteins and glycoproteins to the cell membrane. GPI attachment to proteins represents one of the most common PTMs and GPI-associated proteins (GPI-APs) facilitate many cell surface processes, including synapse development and maintenance. Mutations in the GPI processing pathway are associated with intellectual disability, emphasizing the potential role of GPI-APs in cognition and schizophrenia-associated cognitive dysfunction. As initial endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated protein processing is essential for GPI-AP function, we measured protein expression of molecules involved in attachment (GPAA1), modification (PGAP1), and ER export (Tmp21) of GPI-APs, in homogenates and in an ER enriched fraction derived from dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) of 15 matched pairs of schizophrenia and comparison subjects. In total homogenate we found a significant decrease in transmembrane protein 21 (Tmp21) and in the ER-enriched fraction we found reduced expression of post-GPI attachment protein (PGAP1). PGAP1 modifies GPI-anchors through inositol deacylation, allowing it to be recognized by Tmp21. Tmp21 is a component of the p24 complex that recognizes GPI-anchored proteins, senses the status of the GPI-anchor, and regulates incorporation into COPII vesicles for export to the Golgi apparatus. Together, these proteins are the molecular mechanisms underlying GPI-AP quality control and ER export. To investigate the potential consequences of a deficit in export and/or quality control, we measured cell membrane-associated expression of known GPI-APs that have been previously implicated in schizophrenia, including GPC1, NCAM, MDGA2, and EPHA1, using Triton X-114 phase separation. Additionally, we tested the sensitivity of those candidate proteins to phosphatidylinositol-specific phospholipase C (PI-PLC), an enzyme that cleaves GPI from GPI-APs. While we did not observe a difference in the amount of these GPI-APs in Triton X-114 phase separated membrane fractions, we found decreased NCAM and GPC1 within the PI-PLC sensitive fraction. These findings suggest dysregulation of ER-associated GPI-AP protein processing, with impacts on post-translational modifications of proteins previously implicated in schizophrenia such as NCAM and GPC1. These findings provide evidence for a deficit in ER protein processing pathways in this illness.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 7885350
  • Author List

  • Kim P; Scott MR; Meador-Woodruff JH
  • Volume

  • 9
  • Issue

  • 1