Giusti, L., et al. Brain mitochondrial proteome alteration driven by creatine deficiency suggests novel therapeutic venues for creatine deficiency syndromes, Neuroscience. Volume 409, 276-289
Creatine (Cr) is a small metabolite with a central role in energy metabolism and mitochondrial function. Creatine deficiency syndromes are inborn errors of Cr metabolism causing Cr depletion in all body tissues and particularly in the nervous system. Patient symptoms involve intellectual disability, language and behavioral disturbances, seizures and movement disorders suggesting that brain cells are particularly sensitive to Cr depletion. Cr deficiency was found to affect metabolic activity and structural abnormalities of mitochondrial organelles; however a detailed analysis of molecular mechanisms linking Cr deficit, energy metabolism alterations and brain dysfunction is still missing. Using a proteomic approach we evaluated the proteome changes of the brain mitochondrial fraction induced by the deletion of the Cr transporter (CrT) in developing mutant mice. We found a marked alteration of the mitochondrial proteomic landscape in the brain of CrT deficient mice, with the overexpression of many proteins involved in energy metabolism and response to oxidative stress. Moreover, our data suggest possible abnormalities of dendritic spines, synaptic function and plasticity, network excitability and neuroinflammatory response. Intriguingly, the alterations occurred in coincidence with the developmental onset of neurological symptoms. Thus, cerebral mitochondrial alterations could represent an early response to Cr deficiency that could be targeted for therapeutic intervention.