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Sci Rep. 2017 Sep 5;7(1):10481. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-07667-x.

The endosomal neuronal proteins Nsg1/NEEP21 and Nsg2/P19 are itinerant, not resident proteins of dendritic endosomes.

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Department of Cell Biology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, 22908, USA.
Department of Cell Biology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, 22908, USA.


Membrane traffic critically regulates most aspects of neuronal function. Neurons express many neuronal-specific proteins that regulate membrane traffic, including the poorly understood small transmembrane proteins neural-specific gene 1 and 2 (Nsg1/NEEP21 and Nsg2/P19). Nsg1 has been implicated in regulating endosomal recycling and sorting of several important neuronal receptors. Nsg2 is largely unstudied. At steady-state, Nsg1 and Nsg2 only partially co-localize with known endosomal compartments, and it was suggested that they mark a neuronal-specific endosome. Since Nsg1 localizes to and functions in the dendritic endosome, we set out to discover how Nsg1 and Nsg2 localization to endosomes is regulated in primary rat hippocampal neurons, using quadruple immunolocalization against endogenous proteins, live imaging of dendritic endosomes, and interference approaches against the endosomal regulators Rab5 and Rab7. In contrast to previous conclusions, we now show that Nsg1 and Nsg2 are not resident endosomal proteins, but traffic rapidly from the cell surface to lysosomes and have a half-life of less than two hours. Their partial co-localization with canonical endosomal markers thus reflects their rapid flux towards degradation rather than specific targeting to a singular compartment. These findings will require rethinking of how this class of endosomal proteins regulates trafficking of much longer-lived receptors.

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