The Calcium Channel Mucolipin-3 is a Novel Regulator of Trafficking Along the Endosomal Pathway

Authors

  • Jose A. Martina,

    1. Laboratory of Cell Biology, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA
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  • Benjamin Lelouvier,

    1. Laboratory of Cell Biology, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA
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  • Rosa Puertollano

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory of Cell Biology, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA
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Rosa Puertollano, puertolr@mail.nih.gov

Abstract

The varitint-waddler phenotype in mice is caused by gain-of-function mutations in mucolipin-3 (MCOLN3), a member of the mucolipin family of ion channels. These mice are characterized by defects in pigmentation, hearing loss and vestibular defects, suggesting that MCOLN3 might play a role in melanosome trafficking and hair cell maturation. Recent evidence has shown that MCOLN3 is a Ca2+–permeable channel and its activity is regulated by pH. Here we show that MCOLN3 primarily localizes to early and late endosomes in human epithelial cells. This distribution at the less acidic portions of the endocytic pathway is consistent with the reported inactivation of the channel by low pH. Furthermore, overexpression of MCOLN3 causes dramatic alterations in the endosomal pathway, including enlargement of Hrs-positive endosomes, delayed degradation of epidermal growth factor (EGF) and EGF receptor (EGFR) and defective autophagosome maturation, whereas depletion of endogenous MCOLN3 enhances EGFR degradation. Finally, we found that endosomal pH is higher in cells overexpressing MCOLN3 and propose a model in which Ca2+ release from endosomes mediated by MCOLN3 might be important for efficient endosomal acidification. Therefore, MCOLN3 is a novel Ca2+ channel that plays a crucial role in the regulation of cargo trafficking along the endosomal pathway.

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