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Front Mol Neurosci. 2019 May 24;12:128. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2019.00128. eCollection 2019.

Comparison and Functional Genetic Analysis of Striatal Protein Expression Among Diverse Inbred Mouse Strains.

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Department of Genetics, Genomics and Informatics, College of Medicine, University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), Memphis, TN, United States.
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), Memphis, TN, United States.


C57BL/6J (B6) and DBA/2J (D2) inbred mouse strains are highly variable genetically and differ in a large number of behavioral traits related to striatal function, including depression, anxiety, stress response, and response to drugs of abuse. The genetic basis of these phenotypic differences are, however, unknown. Here, we present a comparison of the striatal proteome between B6 and D2 and relate differences at the protein level to strain differences at the mRNA level. We also leverage a recombinant inbred BXD population derived from B6 and D2 strains to investigate the role of genetic variation on the regulation of mRNA and protein levels. Finally, we test the hypothesis that differential protein expression contributes to differential behavioral responses between the B6 and D2 strain. We detected the expression of over 2,500 proteins in membrane-enriched protein fractions from B6 and D2 striatum. Of these, 160 proteins demonstrated significant differential expression between B6 and D2 strains at a 10% false discovery level, including COMT, GABRA2, and cannabinoid receptor 1 (CNR1)-key proteins involved in synaptic transmission and behavioral response. Similar to previous reports, there was little overlap between protein and transcript levels (25%). However, the overlap was greater (51%) for proteins demonstrating genetic regulation of cognate gene expression. We also found that striatal proteins with significantly higher or lower relative expression in B6 and D2 were enriched for dopaminergic and glutamatergic synapses and processes involved in synaptic plasticity [e.g., long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD)]. Finally, we validated higher expression of CNR1 in B6 striatum and demonstrated greater sensitivity of this strain to the locomotor inhibiting effects of the CNR1 agonist, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Our study is the first comparison of differences in striatal proteins between the B6 and D2 strains and suggests that alterations in the striatal proteome may underlie strain differences in related behaviors, such as drug response. Furthermore, we propose that genetic variants that impact transcript levels are more likely to also exhibit differential expression at the protein level.


C57BL/6J; DBA/2J; THC; mass spectrometry; proteomics; striatum; synaptosome; systems genetics

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