One of the potential benefits of using data-independent acquisition (DIA) proteomics protocols is that information not originally targeted by the study may be present and discovered by subsequent analysis. Herein, we reanalyzed DIA data originally recorded for global proteomic analysis to look for isomerized peptides, which occur as a result of spontaneous chemical modifications to long-lived proteins. Examination of a large set of human brain samples revealed a striking relationship between Alzheimer’s disease (AD) status and isomerization of aspartic acid in a peptide from tau. Relative to controls, a surprising increase in isomer abundance was found in both autosomal dominant and sporadic AD samples. To explore potential mechanisms that might account for these observations, quantitative analysis of proteins related to isomerization repair and autophagy was performed. Differences consistent with reduced autophagic flux in AD-related samples relative to controls were found for numerous proteins, including most notably p62, a recognized indicator of autophagic inhibition. These results suggest, but do not conclusively demonstrate, that lower autophagic flux may be strongly associated with loss of function in AD brains. This study illustrates that DIA data may contain unforeseen results of interest and may be particularly useful for pilot studies investigating new research directions. In this case, a promising target for future investigations into the therapy and prevention of AD has been identified.
- age-related neurodegenerative disease
- aspartic acid
- neurofibrillary tangle
- post-translational modification