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Concept: Lysosome


COPI-coated vesicles mediate trafficking within the Golgi apparatus and from the Golgi to the endoplasmic reticulum. The structures of membrane protein coats, including COPI, have been extensively studied with in vitro reconstitution systems using purified components. In a previous paper (Dodonova et al., 2017), we determined a complete structural model of the in vitro reconstituted COPI coat. Here, we applied cryo-focused ion beam milling, cryo-electron tomography and subtomogram averaging to determine the native structure of the COPI coat within vitrified Chlamydomonas reinhardtii cells. The native algal structure resembles the in vitro mammalian structure, but additionally reveals cargo bound beneath β'-COP. We find that all coat components disassemble simultaneously and relatively rapidly after budding. Structural analysis in situ, maintaining Golgi topology, shows that vesicles change their size, membrane thickness, and cargo content as they progress from cis to trans, but the structure of the coat machinery remains constant.

Concepts: Protein, Cell, Cell membrane, Golgi apparatus, Organelle, Secretion, Endoplasmic reticulum, Lysosome


COPI mediates retrograde trafficking from the Golgi to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and within the Golgi stack, sorting transmembrane proteins bearing C-terminal KKxx or KxKxx motifs. The structure of KxKxx motifs bound to the N-terminal WD-repeat domain of β'-COP identifies electrostatic contacts between the motif and complementary patches at the center of the β'-COP propeller. An absolute requirement of a two-residue spacing between the terminal carboxylate group and first lysine residue results from interactions of carbonyl groups in the motif backbone with basic side chains of β'-COP. Similar interactions are proposed to mediate binding of KKxx motifs by the homologous α-COP domain. Mutation of key interacting residues in either domain or in their cognate motifs abolishes in vitro binding and results in mistrafficking of dilysine-containing cargo in yeast without compromising cell viability. Flexibility between β'-COP WD-repeat domains and the location of cargo binding have implications for COPI coat assembly.

Concepts: Protein, Cell, Cell membrane, Golgi apparatus, Secretion, Endoplasmic reticulum, Glycosylation, Lysosome


To date, a plethora of studies have provided evidence favoring an association between Gaucher disease (GD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD). GD, the most common lysosomal storage disorder, results from the diminished activity of the lysosomal enzyme β-glucocerebrosidase (GCase), caused by mutations in the β-glucocerebrosidase gene (GBA). Alpha-synuclein (ASYN), a presynaptic protein, has been strongly implicated in PD pathogenesis. ASYN may in part be degraded by the lysosomes and may itself aberrantly impact lysosomal function. Therefore, a putative link between deficient GCase and ASYN, involving lysosomal dysfunction, has been proposed to be responsible for the risk for PD conferred by GBA mutations. In this current work, we aimed to investigate the effects of pharmacological inhibition of GCase on ASYN accumulation/aggregation, as well as on lysosomal function, in differentiated SH-SY5Y cells and in primary neuronal cultures. Following profound inhibition of the enzyme activity, we did not find significant alterations in ASYN levels, or any changes in the clearance or formation of its oligomeric species. We further observed no significant impairment of the lysosomal degradation machinery. These findings suggest that additional interaction pathways together with aberrant GCase and ASYN must govern this complex relation between GD and PD.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Enzyme, Lysosomal storage disease, Parkinson's disease, Lysosome, Gaucher's disease, Glucocerebrosidase


Cellular stresses trigger autophagy to remove damaged macromolecules and organelles. Lysosomes ‘host’ multiple stress-sensing mechanisms that trigger the coordinated biogenesis of autophagosomes and lysosomes. For example, transcription factor (TF)EB, which regulates autophagy and lysosome biogenesis, is activated following the inhibition of mTOR, a lysosome-localized nutrient sensor. Here we show that reactive oxygen species (ROS) activate TFEB via a lysosomal Ca(2+)-dependent mechanism independent of mTOR. Exogenous oxidants or increasing mitochondrial ROS levels directly and specifically activate lysosomal TRPML1 channels, inducing lysosomal Ca(2+) release. This activation triggers calcineurin-dependent TFEB-nuclear translocation, autophagy induction and lysosome biogenesis. When TRPML1 is genetically inactivated or pharmacologically inhibited, clearance of damaged mitochondria and removal of excess ROS are blocked. Furthermore, TRPML1’s ROS sensitivity is specifically required for lysosome adaptation to mitochondrial damage. Hence, TRPML1 is a ROS sensor localized on the lysosomal membrane that orchestrates an autophagy-dependent negative-feedback programme to mitigate oxidative stress in the cell.

Concepts: DNA, Oxygen, Cell, Mitochondrion, Organelle, Oxidative phosphorylation, Reactive oxygen species, Lysosome


To characterize key clinical manifestations of lysosomal acid lipase deficiency (LAL D) in children and adults.

Concepts: Lysosome, Lipase, Lysosomal lipase


Lysosomes clear macromolecules, maintain nutrient and cholesterol homeostasis, participate in tissue repair, and in many other cellular functions. To assume these tasks, lysosomes rely on their large arsenal of acid hydrolases, transmembrane proteins and membrane-associated proteins. It is therefore imperative that, post-synthesis, these proteins are specifically recognized as lysosomal components and are correctly sorted to this organelle through the endosomes. Lysosomal transmembrane proteins contain consensus motifs in their cytosolic regions (tyrosine- or dileucine-based) that serve as sorting signals to the endosomes, whereas most lysosomal acid hydrolases acquire mannose 6-phosphate (Man-6-P) moieties that mediate binding to two membrane receptors with endosomal sorting motifs in their cytosolic tails. These tyrosine- and dileucine-based motifs are tickets for boarding in clathrin-coated carriers that transport their cargo from the trans-Golgi network and plasma membrane to the endosomes. However, increasing evidence points to additional mechanisms participating in the biogenesis of lysosomes. In some cell types, for example, there are alternatives to the Man-6-P receptors for the transport of some acid hydrolases. In addition, several “non-consensus” sorting motifs have been identified, and atypical transport routes to endolysosomes have been brought to light. These “unconventional” or “less known” transport mechanisms are the focus of this review.

Concepts: Protein, Cell, Cell membrane, Golgi apparatus, Organelle, Endoplasmic reticulum, Transmembrane protein, Lysosome


Mucopolysaccharidosis I (MPS I) is a metabolic disorder caused by α-L-Iduronidase (IDUA) deficiency, resulting in lysosomal accumulation of heparan (HS) and dermatan sulphate (DS). This has been reported in microglia, yet currently the effect of IDUA deficiency on T cells and dendritic cells (DC) and their functionality in disease pathogenesis remains unclear.

Concepts: Mitochondrion, Lysosomal storage disease, Dendritic cell, Lysosome, Dermatan sulfate, Mucopolysaccharidosis, Hunter syndrome, Hurler syndrome


Rlyso, a highly selective and sensitive pH sensor, can stain lysosomes with a novel lysosome-locating group, methylcarbitol. Rlyso was successfully used to detect lysosomal pH changes during apoptosis or induced by chloroquine while avoiding the “alkalizing effect” on lysosomes of current lysosomal probes with nitrogen-containing sidechains.

Concepts: Phagocytosis, PH, Lysosome, Vesicle


T-cell protein tyrosine phosphatase, TCPTP, is a ubiquitously expressed non-receptor type tyrosine phosphatase. There are two splice variants of TCPTP, TC48 and TC45, which differ in their sub-cellular localizations and functions. TC45 is a nuclear protein, which has both nuclear and cytoplasmic substrates, and is involved in many signaling events including endocytic recycling of platelet-derived growth factor β-receptor. TC48 is a predominantly endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-localizing protein, which dephosphorylates some of the substrates of TC45 at the ER. However, recently few specific substrates for TC48 have been identified. These include C3G (RapGEF1), syntaxin 17 and BCR-Abl. TC48 moves from the ER to post-ER compartments, the ER-Golgi intermediate compartment (ERGIC) and Golgi, and it is retrieved back to the ER. The retrieval of ER proteins from post-ER compartments is generally believed as a mechanism of targeting these proteins to the ER. However, it is possible that this shuttling of TC48 serves to regulate signaling in the early secretory pathway. For example, TC48 dephosphorylates phosphorylated C3G at the Golgi and inhibits neurite outgrowth. TC48 interacts with and dephosphorylates syntaxin 17, which is an ER and ERGIC-localizing protein involved in vesicle transport. A yeast two-hybrid screen identified several unique interacting partners of TC48 belonging to two groups - proteins involved in vesicle trafficking and proteins involved in cell adhesion. These interacting proteins could be substrates or regulators of TC48 function and localization. Thus, the role of TC48 seems to be more diverse, which is still to be explored.

Concepts: Protein, Cell nucleus, Cell, Cytosol, Endoplasmic reticulum, Cell biology, Two-hybrid screening, Lysosome


Homozygous or heterozygous mutations in the GRN gene, encoding progranulin (PGRN), cause neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL) or frontotemporal dementia (FTD), respectively. NCL and FTD are characterized by lysosome dysfunction and neurodegeneration, indicating PGRN is important for lysosome homeostasis in the brain. PGRN is trafficked to the lysosome where its functional role is unknown. PGRN can be cleaved into seven 6-kDa proteins called granulins (GRNs); however, little is known about how GRNs are produced or if levels of GRNs are altered in FTD-GRN mutation carriers. Here, we report the identification and characterization of antibodies that reliably detect several human GRNs by immunoblot and immunocytochemistry. Using these tools, we find that endogenous GRNs are present within multiple cell lines and are constitutively produced. Further, extracellular PGRN is endocytosed and rapidly processed into stable GRNs within lysosomes. Processing of PGRN into GRNs is conserved between humans and mice and is modulated by sortilin expression and mediated by cysteine proteases (i.e. cathpesin L). Induced lysosome dysfunction caused by alkalizing agents or increased expression of transmembrane protein 106B (TMEM106B) inhibit processing of PGRN into GRNs. Finally, we find that multiple GRNs are haploinsufficient in primary fibroblasts and cortical brain tissue from FTD-GRN patients. Taken together, our findings raise the interesting possibility that GRNs carry out critical lysosomal functions and that loss of GRNs should be explored as an initiating factor in lysosomal dysfunction and neurodegeneration caused by GRN mutations.

Concepts: Protein, Cell, Brain, Cell membrane, Human brain, Neurology, Lysosome, Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis