Lysosomal targeting of the CLN7 membrane glycoprotein and transport via the plasma membrane require a dileucine motif.
CLN7 is a polytopic lysosomal membrane protein deficient in variant late infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis, a neurodegenerative lysosomal storage disorder. In this study fluorescence protease protection assays and mutational analyses revealed the N- and C-terminal tails of CLN7 in the cytosol and two N-glycosylation sites at N371 and N376. Both partially and non-glycosylated CLN7 were correctly transported to lysosomes. To identify lysosomal targeting motifs, we generated CD4-chimera fused to the N- and C-terminal domains of CLN7. Lysosomal localization of the chimeric proteins requires a consensus acidic dileucine-based motif in the N-terminus and two tandem tyrosine-based signals in the C-terminus. Mutation of these sorting motifs resulted in cell surface redistribution of CD4 chimeras. However, the dileucine-based motif is of critical importance for lysosomal localization of the full-length CLN7 in different cell lines. Cell surface biotinylation revealed that at equilibrium 22% of total CLN7 is localized at the plasma membrane. Mutation of the dileucine motif or the co-expression of dominant-negative mutant dynamin K44A led to a further increase of CLN7 at the plasma membrane. Our data demonstrate that CLN7 contains several cytoplasmic lysosomal targeting signals of which the N-terminal dileucine-based motif is required for the predominant lysosomal targeting along the indirect pathway and clathrin-mediated endocytosis of CLN7.