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Juvenile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (JNCL) belongs to the neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses characterized by blindness/seizures/motor/cognitive decline and early death. JNCL is caused by CLN3 gene mutations that negatively modulate cell growth/apoptosis. CLN3 protein (CLN3p) localizes to Golgi/Rab4-/Rab11-positive endosomes and lipid rafts, and harbors a galactosylceramide (GalCer) lipid raft-binding domain. Goals are proving CLN3p participates in GalCer transport from Golgi to rafts, and GalCer deficits negatively affect cell growth/apoptosis. GalCer/mutant CLN3p are retained in Golgi, with CLN3p rescuing GalCer deficits in rafts. Diminishing GalCer in normal cells by GalCer synthase siRNA negatively affects cell growth/apoptosis. GalCer restores JNCL cell growth. WT CLN3p binds GalCer, but not mutant CLN3p. Sphingolipid content of rafts/Golgi is perturbed with diminished GalCer in rafts and accumulation in Golgi. CLN3-deficient raft vesicular structures are small by transmission electron microscopy, reflecting altered sphingolipid composition of rafts. CLN1/CLN2/CLN6 proteins bind to lysophosphatidic acid/sulfatide, CLN6/CLN8 proteins to GalCer, and CLN8 protein to ceramide. Sphingolipid composition/morphology of CLN1-/CLN2-/CLN6-/CLN8- and CLN9-deficient rafts are altered suggesting changes in raft structure/lipid stoichiometry could be common themes underlying these diseases.


Elena Rusyn, Talal Mousallem, Dixie-Ann Persaud-Sawin, Sara Miller, Rose-Mary N Boustany. CLN3p impacts galactosylceramide transport, raft morphology, and lipid content. Pediatric research. 2008 Jun;63(6):625-31

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PMID: 18317235

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