Constitutive expression of a COOH-terminal leucine mutant of lysosome-associated membrane protein-1 causes its exclusive localization in low density intracellular vesicles

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Lysosome-associated membrane protein-1 (LAMP-1) is a type I transmembrane protein with a short cytoplasmic tail that possesses a lysosome-targeting signal of GYQTI382-COOH. Wild-type (WT)-LAMP-1 was exclusively localized in high density lysosomes, and efficiency of LAMP-1’s transport to lysosomes depends on its COOH-terminal amino acid residue. Among many different COOH-terminal amino acid substitution mutants of LAMP-1, a leucine-substituted mutant (I382L) displays the most efficient targeting to late endosomes and lysosomes [Akasaki et al. (2010) J. Biochem.148, 669–679]. In this study, we generated two human hepatoma cell lines (HepG2 cell lines) that stably express WT-LAMP-1 and I382L, and compared their intracellular distributions. The subcellular fractionation study using Percoll density gradient centrifugation revealed that WT-LAMP-1 had preferential localization in the high density secondary lysosomes where endogenous human LAMP-1 was enriched. In contrast, a major portion of I382L was located in a low density fraction. The low density fraction also contained approximately 80% of endogenous human LAMP-1 and significant amounts of endogenous β-glucuronidase and LAMP-2, which probably represents occurrence of low density lysosomes in the I382L-expressing cells. Double immunofluorescence microscopic analyses distinguished I382L-containing intracellular vesicles from endogenous LAMP-1-containing lysosomes and early endosomes. Altogether, constitutive expression of I382L causes its aberrant intracellular localization and generation of low density lysosomes, indicating that the COOH-terminal isoleucine is critical for normal localization of LAMP-1 in the dense lysosomes.

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