Primary fibroblasts from CSPα mutation carriers recapitulate hallmarks of the adult onset neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis

Bruno A. Benitez, Mark S. Sands

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11 Scopus citations


Mutations in the co-chaperone protein, CSPα, cause an autosomal dominant, adult-neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (AD-ANCL). The current understanding of CSPα function exclusively at the synapse fails to explain the autophagy-lysosome pathway (ALP) dysfunction in cells from AD-ANCL patients. Here, we demonstrate unexpectedly that primary dermal fibroblasts from pre-symptomatic mutation carriers recapitulate in vitro features found in the brains of AD-ANCL patients including auto-fluorescent storage material (AFSM) accumulation, CSPα aggregates, increased levels of lysosomal proteins and lysosome enzyme activities. AFSM accumulation correlates with CSPα aggregation and both are susceptible to pharmacological modulation of ALP function. In addition, we demonstrate that endogenous CSPα is present in the lysosome-enriched fractions and co-localizes with lysosome markers in soma, neurites and synaptic boutons. Overexpression of CSPα wild-type (WT) decreases lysotracker signal, secreted lysosomal enzymes and SNAP23-mediated lysosome exocytosis. CSPα WT, mutant and aggregated CSPα are degraded mainly by the ALP but this disease-causing mutation exhibits a faster rate of degradation. Co-expression of both WT and mutant CSPα cause a block in the fusion of autophagosomes/lysosomes. Our data suggest that aggregation-dependent perturbation of ALP function is a relevant pathogenic mechanism for AD-ANCL and supports the use of AFSM or CSPα aggregation as biomarkers for drug screening purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6332
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


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