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J Neurochem. 2009 Dec;111(5):1094-103. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2009.06401.x. Epub 2009 Sep 24.

Zn2+ mediates ischemia-induced impairment of the ubiquitin-proteasome system in the rat hippocampus.

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Institute of Neuroscience State, Key Laboratory of Neuroscience, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China.


Deposition of ubiquitinated protein aggregates is a hallmark of neurodegeneration in both acute neural injuries, such as stroke, and chronic conditions, such as Parkinson's disease, but the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. In the present study, we examined the role of Zn2+ in ischemia-induced impairment of the ubiquitin-proteasome system in the CA1 region of rat hippocampus after transient global ischemia. We found that scavenging endogenous Zn2+ reduced ischemia-induced ubiquitin conjugation and free ubiquitin depletion. Furthermore, exposure to zinc chloride increased ubiquitination and inhibited proteasomal enzyme activity in cultured hippocampal neurons in a concentration- and time-dependent manner. Further studies of the underlying mechanisms showed that Zn(2+)-induced ubiquitination required p38 activation. These findings indicate that alterations in Zn2+ homeostasis impair the protein degradation pathway.

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