Lysosomal dysfunction causes neurodegeneration in mucolipidosis II 'knock-in' mice

K. Kollmann, M. Damme, S. Markmann, W. Morelle, M. Schweizer, I. Hermans-Borgmeyer, A. K. Röchert, S. Pohl, T. Lübke, J. C. Michalski, R. Käkelä, S. U. Walkley, T. Braulke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Mucolipidosis II is a neurometabolic lysosomal trafficking disorder of infancy caused by loss of mannose 6-phosphate targeting signals on lysosomal proteins, leading to lysosomal dysfunction and accumulation of non-degraded material. However, the identity of storage material and mechanisms of neurodegeneration in mucolipidosis II are unknown. We have generated 'knock-in' mice with a common mucolipidosis II patient mutation that show growth retardation, progressive brain atrophy, skeletal abnormalities, elevated lysosomal enzyme activities in serum, lysosomal storage in fibroblasts and brain and premature death, closely mimicking the mucolipidosis II disease in humans. The examination of affected mouse brains at different ages by immunohistochemistry, ultrastructural analysis, immunoblotting and mass spectrometric analyses of glycans and anionic lipids revealed that the expression and proteolytic processing of distinct lysosomal proteins such as α-l-fucosidase, β-hexosaminidase, α-mannosidase or Niemann-Pick C2 protein are more significantly impacted by the loss of mannose 6-phosphate residues than enzymes reaching lysosomes independently of this targeting mechanism. As a consequence, fucosylated N-glycans, GM2 and GM3 gangliosides, cholesterol and bis(monoacylglycero)phosphate accumulate progressively in the brain of mucolipidosis II mice. Prominent astrogliosis and the accumulation of organelles and storage material in focally swollen axons were observed in the cerebellum and were accompanied by a loss of Purkinje cells. Moreover, an increased neuronal level of the microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 and the formation of p62-positive neuronal aggregates indicate an impairment of constitutive autophagy in the mucolipidosis II brain. Our findings demonstrate the essential role of mannose 6-phosphate for selected lysosomal proteins to maintain the capability for degradation of sequestered components in lysosomes and autophagolysosomes and prevent neurodegeneration. These lysosomal proteins might be a potential target for a valid therapeutic approach for mucolipidosis II disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2661-2675
Number of pages15
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • ganglioside
  • impaired autophagy
  • lysosomal storage disease
  • mucolipidosis
  • trafficking of lysosomal proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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