Several different types of nonneuronal glial cells with diverse phenotypes are present in the CNS, and all have distinct indispensible functions. Although glial cells primarily provide neurons with metabolic and structural support in the healthy brain, they may switch phenotype from a “resting” to a “reactive” state in response to pathological insults. Furthermore, this reactive gliosis is an invariant feature of the pathogeneses of CNS maladies. The glial proteome serves as a signature of glial phenotype, and not only executes physiological functions, but also acts as a molecular mediator of the reactive glial phenotype. The glial proteome is also involved in intra- and intercellular communications as exemplified by glia–glia and neuron–glia interactions. The utilization of authoritative proteomic tools and the bioinformatic analyses have helped to profile the brain glial proteome and explore the molecular mechanisms of diverse glial phenotypes. Furthermore, technologic innovations have equipped the field of “glioproteomics” with refined tools for studies of the expression, interaction, and function of glial proteins in the healthy and in the diseased CNS. Glioproteomics is expected to contribute to the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms of CNS pathophysiology and to the discovery of biomarkers and theragnostic targets in CNS disorders.
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