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After the discovery of abundant v-ATPase complexes in the osteoclast ruffled membrane it was obvious that in parallel a negative counter-ion needs to be transported across this membrane to allow for efficient transport of protons into the resorption lacuna. While different candidate proteins were discussed the osteopetrosis phenotype of Clcn7 knockout mice suggested that the chloride/proton-exchanger ClC-7 might be responsible for transporting the negative charge. In the following, individuals with autosomal recessive osteopetrosis (ARO) were found to carry biallelic CLCN7 pathogenic variants. Shortly thereafter, heterozygous pathogenic variants were identified as the exclusive cause of autosomal dominant osteopetrosis type 2 (ADO2). Since in most cell types other than osteoclasts ClC-7 resides in late endosomes and lysosomes, it took some time until the electrophysiological properties of ClC-7 were elucidated. Whereas most missense variants lead to reduced chloride currents, several variants with accelerated kinetics have been identified. Evidence for folding problems is also known for several missense variants. Paradoxically, a heterozygous activating variant in ClC-7 was described to cause lysosomal alteration, pigmentation defects, and intellectual disability without osteopetrosis. The counter-intuitive 2 Cl-/H+ exchange function of ClC-7 was shown to be physiologically important for intravesicular ion homeostasis. The lysosomal function of ClC-7 is also the reason why individuals with CLCN7-ARO can develop a storage disorder and neurodegeneration, a feature that is variable and difficult to predict. Furthermore, the low penetrance of heterozygous pathogenic CLCN7 variants and the clinical variability of ADO2 are incompletely understood. We aim to give an overview not only of the current knowledge about ClC-7 and its related pathologies, but also of the scientists and clinicians that paved the way for these discoveries. Copyright © 2022. Published by Elsevier Inc.


Tobias Stauber, Lena Wartosch, Svenja Vishnolia, Ansgar Schulz, Uwe Kornak. CLCN7, a gene shared by autosomal recessive and autosomal dominant osteopetrosis. Bone. 2023 Mar;168:116639

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PMID: 36513280

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