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J Physiol. 2013 Sep 15;591(18):4389-401. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2013.258301. Epub 2013 Jul 22.

Regulation of membrane trafficking by signalling on endosomal and lysosomal membranes.

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H. Xu: University of Michigan, MCDB, 3089 Natural Science Building (Kraus), 830 North University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.


  Endosomal and lysosomal membrane trafficking requires the coordination of multiple signalling events to control cargo sorting and processing, and endosome maturation. The initiation and termination of signalling events in endosomes and lysosomes is not well understood, but several key regulators have been identified, which include small GTPases, phosphoinositides, and Ca2+. Small GTPases act as master regulators and molecular switches in a GTP-dependent manner, initiating signalling cascades to regulate the direction and specificity of endosomal trafficking. Phosphoinositides are membrane-bound lipids that indicate vesicular identities for recruiting specific cytoplasmic proteins to endosomal membranes, thus allowing specificity of membrane fusion, fission, and cargo sorting to occur within and between specific vesicle compartments. In addition, phosphoinositides regulate the function of membrane proteins such as ion channels and transporters in a compartment-specific manner to mediate transport and signalling. Finally, Ca2+, a locally acting second messenger released from intracellular ion channels, may provide precise spatiotemporal regulation of endosomal signalling and trafficking events. Small GTPase signalling can regulate phosphoinositide conversion during endosome maturation, and electrophysiological studies on isolated endosomes have shown that endosomal and lysosomal Ca2+ channels are directly modulated by endosomal lipids. Thus trafficking and maturation of endosomes and lysosomes can be precisely regulated by dynamic changes in GTPases and membrane lipids, as well as Ca2+ signalling. Importantly, impaired phosphoinositide and Ca2+ signalling can cause endosomal and lysosomal trafficking defects at the cellular level, and a spectrum of lysosome storage diseases.

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