Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are present in human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), yet little is known about their protein composition. The aim of this study is to provide a comprehensive analysis of the proteome of CSF EVs by electron microscopy and high resolution tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) in conjunction with bioinformatics. We report an extensive catalog of 1315 proteins identified in EVs isolated from two different CSF pools by ultracentrifugation, including 230 novel EV proteins. Out of 1315 proteins, 760 were identified in both CSF pools and about 30% of those were also quantitatively enriched in the EV fraction versus the soluble CSF fraction. The proteome of CSF EVs was enriched in exosomal markers such as alix and syntenin-1, heat shock proteins and tetraspanins and contained a high proportion of brain-derived proteins (n=373). Interestingly, several known biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases such as the amyloid precursor protein, the prion protein and DJ-1 were identified in the EV fractions. Our dataset represents the first comprehensive inventory of the EV proteome in CSF, underscoring the biomarker potential of this organelle. Further comparative studies on CSF EVs isolated from patients diagnosed with neurological disorders are warranted. Data are available via ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD000608. Biological significance In this study we analyzed the protein composition of extracellular vesicles isolated from pooled samples of human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF is a colorless fluid surrounding the brain and the spinal cord, important for the physiology of the central nervous system, ensuing mechanical protection, regulation of brain blood flow and elimination of byproducts of the brain. Since brain (patho)physiology is reflected in CSF, this biological fluid represents an ideal source of soluble and vesicle-based biomarkers for neurological diseases. Here we confirm the presence of exosome-like extracellular vesicles in CSF, underscoring a potential role in the physiology of the brain. These extracellular vesicles provide a rich source of candidate biomarkers, representing a brain "fluid biopsy". Most interestingly, the involvement of extracellular vesicles in transferring toxic proteins such as α-synuclein and β-amyloid has been postulated as one of the mechanisms involved in the spreading of neurodegeneration to different brain areas. In line with this, we show that human CSF extracellular vesicles contain prionogenic proteins such as the amyloid precursor protein and the prion protein. Delineating the protein composition of extracellular vesicles in CSF is a first and crucial step to comprehend their origin and their function in the central nervous system and to establish their biomarker potential.
Keywords: Cerebrospinal fluid; Exosomes; Extracellular vesicles; Mass spectrometry; Neurological diseases; Proteomics.
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