Proteomic and functional analyses in disease models reveal CLN5 protein involvement in mitochondrial dysfunction: Cell Death Discovery
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CLN5 disease is a rare form of late-infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL) caused by mutations in the CLN5 gene that encodes a protein whose primary function and physiological roles remains unresolved. Emerging lines of evidence point to mitochondrial dysfunction in the onset and progression of several forms of NCL, offering new insights into putative biomarkers and shared biological processes. In this work, we employed cellular and murine models of the disease, in an effort to clarify disease pathways associated with CLN5 depletion. A mitochondria-focused quantitative proteomics approach followed by functional validations using cell biology and immunofluorescence assays revealed an impairment of mitochondrial functions in different CLN5 KO cell models and in Cln5− /− cerebral cortex, which well correlated with disease progression. A visible impairment of autophagy machinery coupled with alterations of key parameters of mitophagy activation process functionally linked CLN5 protein to the process of neuronal injury. The functional link between impaired cellular respiration and activation of mitophagy pathways in the human CLN5 disease condition was corroborated by translating organelle-specific proteome findings to CLN5 patients’ fibroblasts. Our study highlights the involvement of CLN5 in activation of mitophagy and mitochondrial homeostasis offering new insights into alternative strategies towards the CLN5 disease treatment. © 2020, The Author(s).