Cellular and Molecular Biology



The sorting and trafficking of lysosomal proteins

X. Ni, M. Canuel and C.R. Morales

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Offprint requests to: Dr. Carlos R. Morales, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, McGill University, 3640 University Street, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. H3A 2B2. e-mail: carlos.morales@mcgill.ca

Summary. For a long time lysosomes were considered terminal organelles involved in the degradation of different substrates. However, this view is rapidly changing by evidence demonstrating that these organelles and their content display specialized functions in addition to the degradation of substances. Many lysosomal proteins have been implicated in specialized cellular functions and disorders such as antigen processing, targeting of surfactant proteins, and most lysosomal storage disorders. To date, about fifty lysosomal hydrolases have been identified, and the majority of them are targeted to the lysosomes via the mannose-6-phosphate receptor (M6P-Rc). However, recent studies on the intracellular trafficking of the non-enzymic lysosomal proteins prosaposin and GM2 activator (GM2AP) demonstrated that they use an alternative receptor termed “sortilin”. Existing evidence suggests that some hydrolases traffic to the lysosomes in a mannose 6-phophate-indepentend manner. The possibility that sortilin is implicated in the targeting of some soluble hydrolases, as well as the consequences of this process, is addressed in the present review. Histol Histopathol 21, 899-913 (2006)

Key words: Lysosomes, Trafficking, Sortilin, Mannose 6-phosphate receptor