Protein Expression of Proteasome Subunits in Elderly Patients with Schizophrenia

Academic Article


  • The ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) is a major regulator of protein processing, trafficking, and degradation. While protein ubiquitination is utilized for many cellular processes, one major function of this system is to target proteins to the proteasome for degradation. In schizophrenia, studies have found UPS transcript abnormalities in both blood and brain, and we have previously reported decreased protein expression of ubiquitin-associated proteins in brain. To test whether the proteasome is similarly dysregulated, we measured the protein expression of proteasome catalytic subunits as well as essential subunits from proteasome regulatory complexes in 14 pair-matched schizophrenia and comparison subjects in superior temporal cortex. We found decreased expression of Rpt1, Rpt3, and Rpt6, subunits of the 19S regulatory particle essential for ubiquitin-dependent degradation by the proteasome. Additionally, the α subunit of the 11S αβ regulatory particle, which enhances proteasomal degradation of small peptides and unfolded proteins, was also decreased. Haloperidol-treated rats did not have altered expression of these subunits, suggesting the changes we observed in schizophrenia are likely not due to chronic antipsychotic treatment. Interestingly, expression of the catalytic subunits of both the standard and immunoproteasome were unchanged, suggesting the abnormalities we observed may be specific to the complexed state of the proteasome. Aging has significant effects on the proteasome, and several subunits (20S β2, Rpn10, Rpn13, 11Sβ, and 11Sγ) were significantly correlated with subject age. These data provide further evidence of dysfunction of the ubiquitin-proteasome system in schizophrenia, and suggest that altered proteasome activity may be associated with the pathophysiology of this illness.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Scott MR; Rubio MD; Haroutunian V; Meador-Woodruff JH
  • Start Page

  • 896
  • End Page

  • 905
  • Volume

  • 41
  • Issue

  • 3