Adolescence is a developmental period characterized by unique behavioral phenotypes (increased novelty seeking, risk taking, sociability and impulsivity) and increased risk for destructive behaviors, impaired decision making and psychiatric illness. Adaptive and maladaptive adolescent traits have been associated with development of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), a brain region that mediates regulatory control of behavior. However, the molecular changes that underlie brain development and behavioral vulnerability have not been fully characterized. Using high-throughput 2D DIGE spot profiling with identification by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry, we identified 62 spots in the PFC that exhibited agedependent differences in expression. Identified proteins were associated with diverse cellular functions, including intracellular signaling, synaptic plasticity, cellular organization and metabolism. Separate Western blot analyses confirmed age-related changes in DPYSL2, DNM1, STXBP1 and CFL1 in the mPFC and expanded these findings to the dorsal striatum, nucleus accumbens, motor cortex, amygdala and ventral tegmental area. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) identified functional interaction networks enriched with proteins identified in the proteomics screen, linking age-related alterations in protein expression to cellular assembly and development, cell signaling and behavior, and psychiatric illness. These results provide insight into potential molecular components of adolescent cortical development, implicating structural processes that begin during embryonic development as well as plastic adaptations in signaling that may work in concert to bring the cortex, and other brain regions, into maturity.
Agoglia, A. E., Holstein, S. E., Small, A. T., Spanos, M., Burrus, B. M., & Hodge, C. W. (2017). Comparison of the adolescent and adult mouse prefrontal cortex proteome. PLoS ONE, 12(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0178391