Malfunction of the ubiquitin-proteasome system has been implicated as a causal factor in the pathogenesis of aggregation-related disorders, e.g. Parkinson's disease. We show here that Transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-beta), a multifunctional cytokine and trophic factor for dopaminergic (DAergic) neurons modulates proteasome function in primary midbrain neurons. TGF-beta differentially inhibited proteasomal subactivities with a most pronounced time-dependent inhibition of the peptidyl-glutamyl peptide hydrolyzing-like and chymotrypsin-like subactivity. Regulation of proteasomal activity could be specifically quantified in the DAergic subpopulation. Protein blot analysis revealed an accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins after TGF-beta treatment. The identity of these enriched proteins was further analyzed by 2D-gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry. We found epidermal fatty acid binding protein (EFABP) to be strongly increased and ubiquitinated after TGF-beta treatment and confirmed this finding by co-immunoprecipitation. While application of TGF-beta increased neurite regeneration in a scratch lesion model, downregulation of EFABP by siRNA significantly decreased this effect. We thus postulate that a differential regulation of proteasomal function, as demonstrated for TGF-beta, can result in an enrichment of proteins, such as EFABP, that mediate physiological functions, such as neurite regeneration.