Protein levels of genes encoded on chromosome 21 in fetal Down Syndrome brain (Part V): Overexpression of phosphatidyl-inositol-glycan class P protein (DSCR5)
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Down Syndrome (DS, trisomy 21) is the most common genetic cause of mental retardation. The completed sequencing of genes encoded on chromosome 21 provides excellent basic information, however the molecular mechanisms leading to the phenotype of DS remain to be elucidated. Although overexpression of chromosome 21 encoded genes has been documented information at the protein expression level is mandatory as it is the proteins that carry out function. We therefore decided to evaluated expression level of seven proteins whose genes are encoded on chromosome 21: DSCR4, DSCR5, DSCR6; KIR4.2, GIRK2, KCNE1 and KCNE2 in fetal cortex brain of DS and controls at the early second trimester of pregnancy by Western blotting. β-actin and neuron specific enolase (NSE) were used to normalise cell loss and neuronal loss. DSCR5 (PIG-P), a component of glycosylphosphatidylinositol-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase (GPI-GnT), was overexpressed about twofold, even when levels were normalised with NSE. DSCR6 was overexpressed in addition but when normalised versus NSE, levels were comparable to controls. DSCR4 was not detectable in fetal brain. Potassium channels KIR4.2 and GIRK2 were comparable between DS and controls, whereas KCNE1 and KCNE2 were not detectable. Quantification of these proteins encoded on chromosome 21 revealed that not all gene products of the DS critical region are overexpressed in DS brain early in life, indicating that the DS phenotype cannot be simply explained by the gene dosage effect hypothesis. Overexpression of PIG-P (DSCR5) may lead to or represent impaired glycosylphosphatidylinositol-N-acetylglucosaminyltransferase mediated posttranslational modifications and subsequent anchoring of proteins to the plasma membrane.
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