Background: Detergent-insoluble protein accumulation and aggregation in the brain is one of the pathological hallmarks of neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we describe the identification of septin 11 (SEPT11), an enriched component of detergent-resistant fractions in frontotemporal lobar degeneration with ubiquitin-immunoreactive inclusions (FTLD-U), using large-scale unbiased proteomics approaches.
Results: We developed and applied orthogonal quantitative proteomic strategies for the unbiased identification of disease-associated proteins in FTLD-U. Using these approaches, we proteomically profiled detergent-insoluble protein extracts prepared from frontal cortex of FTLD-U cases, unaffected controls, or neurologic controls (i.e. Alzheimer's disease; AD). Among the proteins altered specifically in FTLD-U, we identified TAR DNA binding protein-43 (TDP-43), a known component of ubiquitinated inclusions. Moreover, we identified additional proteins enriched in detergent-resistant fractions in FTLD-U, and characterized one of them, SEPT11, in detail. Using independent highly sensitive targeted proteomics approaches, we confirmed the enrichment of SEPT11 in FTLD-U extracts. We further showed that SEPT11 is proteolytically cleaved into N-terminal fragments and, in addition to its prominent glial localization in normal brain, accumulates in thread-like pathology in affected cortex of FTLD-U patients.
Conclusions: The proteomic discovery of insoluble SEPT11 accumulation in FTLD-U, along with novel pathological associations, highlights a role for this cytoskeleton-associated protein in the pathogenesis of this complex disorder.