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J Histochem Cytochem. 2010 Mar;58(3):287-300. doi: 10.1369/jhc.2009.955203. Epub 2009 Nov 24.

A stretch of 17 amino acids in the prosaposin C terminus is critical for its binding to sortilin and targeting to lysosomes.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Prosaposin, the precursor of four lysosomal cofactors required for the hydrolysis of sphingolipids, is transported to the lysosomes via the alternative receptor, sortilin. In this study, we identified a specific domain of 17 amino acids within the C terminus of prosaposin involved in binding to this sorting receptor. We generated six prosaposin deletion constructs and examined the effect of truncation by coimmunoprecipitation and confocal microscopy. The experiments revealed that the first half of the prosaposin C terminus (aa 524-540), containing a saposin-like motif, was required and necessary to bind sortilin and to transport it to the lysosomes. Based on this result, we introduced twelve site-directed point mutations within the first half of the C terminus. Although the interaction of prosaposin with sortilin was pH dependent, the mutation of hydrophilic amino acids that usually modulate pH-dependent protein interactions did not affect the binding of prosaposin to sortilin. Conversely, a tryptophan (W530) and two cysteines (C528 and C536) were essential for its interaction with sortilin and for its transport to the lysosomes. In conclusion, our investigation demonstrates that a saposin-like motif within the first half of the prosaposin C terminus contains the sortilin recognition site.

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