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J Biol Chem. 2004 May 21;279(21):22347-52. Epub 2004 Mar 9.

Defective endoplasmic reticulum-resident membrane protein CLN6 affects lysosomal degradation of endocytosed arylsulfatase A.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Children's Hospital, University of Hamburg, D-20246 Hamburg, Germany.


Variant late infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis, a lysosomal storage disorder characterized by progressive mental deterioration and blindness, is caused by mutations in a polytopic membrane protein (CLN6) with unknown intracellular localization and function. In this study, transient transfection of BHK21 cells with CLN6 cDNA and immunoblot analysis using peptide-specific CLN6 antibodies demonstrated the expression of a approximately 27-kDa protein that does not undergo proteolytic processing. Cross-linking experiments revealed the presence of CLN6 dimers. Using double immunofluorescence microscopy, epitope-tagged CLN6 was shown to be retained in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) with no colocalization with the cis-Golgi or lysosomal markers. The translocation into the ER and proper folding were confirmed by the N-linked glycosylation of a mutant CLN6 polypeptide. Pulse-chase labeling of fibroblasts from CLN6 patients and from sheep (OCL6) and mouse (nclf) models of the disease followed by immunoprecipitation of cathepsin D indicated that neither the synthesis, sorting nor the proteolytic processing of this lysosomal enzyme was affected in CLN6-defective cells. However, the degradation of the endocytosed index protein arylsulfatase A was strongly reduced in all of the mutant CLN6 cell lines compared with controls. These data suggest that defects in the ER-resident CLN6 protein lead to lysosomal dysfunctions, which may result in lysosomal accumulation of storage material.

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