Cystinosin mediates an ATP-dependent cystine efflux from lysosomes and causes, if mutated, nephropathic cystinosis, a rare inherited lysosomal storage disease. Alternative splicing of the last exon of the cystinosin sequence produces the cystinosin-LKG isoform that is characterized by a different C-terminal region causing changes in the subcellular distribution of the protein. We have constructed RFP-tagged proteins and demonstrated by site-directed mutagenesis that the carboxyl-terminal SSLKG sequence of cystinosin-LKG is an important sorting motif that is required for efficient targeting the protein to the plasma membrane, where it can mediate H+ coupled cystine transport. Deletion of the SSLKG sequence reduced cystinosin-LKG expression in the plasma membrane and cystine transport by approximately 30%, and induced significant accumulation of the protein in the Golgi apparatus and in lysosomes. Cystinosin-LKG, unlike the canonical isoform, also moves to the lysosomes by the indirect pathway, after endocytic retrieval from the plasma membrane, mainly by a clathrin-mediated endocytosis. Nevertheless, silencing of AP-2 triggers the clathrin-independent endocytosis, showing the complex adaptability of cystinosin-LKG trafficking.
- Journal Article