Adler P, Chiang CK, Mayne J, Ning Z, Zhang X, Xu B, Cheng HM, Figeys D
Front Aging Neurosci 2019;11:368
Aging is associated with cognitive decline and dysregulation of the circadian system, which modulates hippocampal-dependent memory as well as biological processes underlying hippocampal function. While circadian dysfunction and memory impairment are common features of aging and several neurodegenerative brain disorders, how aging impacts the circadian expression patterns of proteins involved in processes that underlie hippocampal-dependent memory is not well understood. In this study, we profiled the hippocampal proteomes of young and middle-aged mice across two circadian cycles using quantitative mass spectrometry in order to explore aging-associated changes in the temporal orchestration of biological pathways. Of the ∼1,420 proteins that were accurately quantified, 15% (214 proteins) displayed circadian rhythms in abundance in the hippocampus of young mice, while only 1.6% (23 proteins) were rhythmic in middle-aged mice. Remarkably, aging disrupted the circadian regulation of proteins involved in cellular functions critical for hippocampal function and memory, including dozens of proteins participating in pathways of energy metabolism, neurotransmission, and synaptic plasticity. These included processes such as glycolysis, the tricarboxylic acid cycle, synaptic vesicle cycling, long-term potentiation, and cytoskeletal organization. Moreover, aging altered the daily expression rhythms of proteins implicated in hallmarks of aging and the pathogenesis of several age-related neurodegenerative brain disorders affecting the hippocampus. Notably, we identified age-related alterations in the rhythmicity of proteins involved in mitochondrial dysfunction and loss of proteostasis, as well as proteins involved in the pathogenesis of disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. These insights into aging-induced changes in the hippocampal proteome provide a framework for understanding how the age-dependent circadian decline may contribute to cognitive impairment and the development of neurodegenerative diseases during aging.