Proteolytic cleavage of the disease-related lysosomal membrane glycoprotein CLN7.
CLN7 is a polytopic lysosomal membrane glycoprotein of unknown function and is deficient in variant late infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis. Here we show that full-length CLN7 is proteolytically cleaved twice, once proximal to the used N-glycosylation sites in lumenal loop L9 and once distal to these sites. Cleavage occurs by cysteine proteases in acidic compartments and disruption of lysosomal targeting of CLN7 results in inhibition of proteolytic cleavage. The apparent molecular masses of the CLN7 fragments suggest that both cleavage sites are located within lumenal loop L9. The known disease-causing mutations, p.T294K and p.P412L, localized in lumenal loops L7 and L9, respectively, did not interfere with correct lysosomal targeting of CLN7 but enhanced its proteolytic cleavage in lysosomes. Incubation of cells with selective cysteine protease inhibitors and expression of CLN7 in gene-targeted mouse embryonic fibroblasts revealed that cathepsin L is required for one of the two proteolytic cleavage events. Our findings suggest that CLN7 is inactivated by proteolytic cleavage and that enhanced CLN7 proteolysis caused by missense mutations in selected luminal loops is associated with disease. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.