Abnormal degradative pathway of mitochondrial ATP synthase subunit c in late infantile neuronal ceroid-lipofuscinosis (Batten disease).
Subunit c is normally present as an inner mitochondrial membrane component of the F0 sector of the ATP synthase complex, but in the late infantile form of neuronal ceroid-lipofuscinosis (NCL) it was also found in lysosomes in high concentrations. The rate of degradation of subunit c as measured by pulse-chase and immunoprecipitation showed a marked delay of degradation in patients' fibroblasts with late infantile form of NCL. There were no significant differences between control cells and cells with disease in the degradation of cytochrome oxidase subunit IV, an inner membrane protein of mitochondria. Measurement of labeled subunit c in mitochondrial and lysosomal fractions showed that the accumulation of labeled subunit c in the mitochondrial fraction can be detected before lysosomal appearance of radioactive subunit c, suggesting that subunit c accumulated as a consequence of abnormal catabolism in the mitochondrion and is transferred to lysosomes through an autophagic process. The biosynthetic rate of subunit c and mRNA levels for P1 and P2 genes that code for it were almost the same in both control and patient cells. These findings suggest that a specific failure in the degradation of subunit c after its normal inclusion in mitochondria and its consequent accumulation in lysosomes.