Functional Annotation of Genes Differentially Expressed Between Primary Motor and Prefrontal Association Cortices of Macaque Brain
Mucolipin-3 (MCOLN3) is a pH-regulated Ca(2+) channel that localizes to the endosomal pathway. Gain-of-function mutation in MCOLN3 causes the varitint-waddler (Va) phenotype in mice, which is characterized by hearing loss, vestibular dysfunction, and coat color dilution. The Va phenotype results from a punctual mutation (A419P) in the pore region of MCOLN3 that locks the channel in an open conformation causing massive entry of Ca(2+) inside cells and inducing cell death by apoptosis. Overexpression of wild-type MCOLN3 produces severe alterations of the endosomal pathway, including enlargement and clustering of endosomes, delayed EGF receptor degradation, and impaired autophagosome maturation, thus suggesting that MCOLN3 plays an important role in the regulation of endosomal function. To understand better the physiological role of MCOLN3, we inhibited MCOLN3 function by expression of a channel-dead dominant negative mutant (458DD/KK) or by knockdown of endogenous MCOLN3. Remarkably, we found that impairment of MCOLN3 activity caused a significant accumulation of luminal Ca(2+) in endosomes. This accumulation led to severe defects in endosomal acidification as well as to increased endosomal fusion. Our findings reveal a prominent role for MCOLN3 in regulating Ca(2+) homeostasis at the endosomal pathway and confirm the importance of luminal Ca(2+) for proper acidification and membrane fusion.