Proteomic profiling of cranial (superior) cervical ganglia reveals beta-amyloid and ubiquitin proteasome system perturbations in an equine multiple system neuropathy

Bruce C. McGorum, R. Scott Pirie, Samantha L. Eaton, John A. Keen, Elizabeth M. Cumyn, Danielle M. Arnott, Wenzhang Chen, Douglas J. Lamont, Laura C. Graham, Maica Llavero Hurtado, Alan Pemberton, Thomas M. Wishart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
253 Downloads (Pure)


Equine grass sickness (EGS) is an acute, predominantly fatal, multiple system neuropathy of grazing horses with reported incidence rates of ∼2%. An apparently identical disease occurs in multiple species, including but not limited to cats, dogs, and rabbits. Although the precise etiology remains unclear, ultrastructural findings have suggested that the primary lesion lies in the glycoprotein biosynthetic pathway of specific neuronal populations. The goal of this study was therefore to identify the molecular processes underpinning neurodegeneration in EGS. Here, we use a bottom-up approach beginning with the application of modern proteomic tools to the analysis of cranial (superior) cervical ganglion (CCG, a consistently affected tissue) from EGS-affected patients and appropriate control cases postmortem. In what appears to be the proteomic application of modern proteomic tools to equine neuronal tissues and/or to an inherent neurodegenerative disease of large animals (not a model of human disease), we identified 2,311 proteins in CCG extracts, with 320 proteins increased and 186 decreased by greater than 20% relative to controls. Further examination of selected proteomic candidates by quantitative fluorescent Western blotting (QFWB) and subcellular expression profiling by immunohistochemistry highlighted a previously unreported dysregulation in proteins commonly associated with protein misfolding/aggregation responses seen in a myriad of human neurodegenerative conditions, including but not limited to amyloid precursor protein (APP), microtubule associated protein (Tau), and multiple components of the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS). Differentially expressed proteins eligible for in silico pathway analysis clustered predominantly into the following biofunctions: (1) diseases and disorders, including; neurological disease and skeletal and muscular disorders and (2) molecular and cellular functions, including cellular assembly and organization, cell-to-cell signaling and interaction (including epinephrine, dopamine, and adrenergic signaling and receptor function), and small molecule biochemistry. Interestingly, while the biofunctions identified in this study may represent pathways underpinning EGSinduced neurodegeneration, this is also the first demonstration of potential molecular conservation (including previously unreported dysregulation of the UPS and APP) spanning the degenerative cascades from an apparently unrelated condition of large animals, to small animal models with altered neuronal vulnerability, and human neurological conditions. Importantly, this study highlights the feasibility and benefits of applying modern proteomic techniques to veterinary investigations of neurodegenerative processes in diseases of large animals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3072-3086
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular & Cellular Proteomics
Issue number11
Early online date13 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Analytical Chemistry


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