The EMBO journal

Transport of human lysosomal neuraminidase to mature lysosomes requires protective protein/cathepsin A.

PMID 9501080


Human lysosomal N-acetyl-alpha-neuraminidase is deficient in two lysosomal storage disorders, sialidosis, caused by structural mutations in the neuraminidase gene, and galactosialidosis, in which a primary defect of protective protein/cathepsin A (PPCA) leads to a combined deficiency of neuraminidase and beta-D-galactosidase. These three glycoproteins can be isolated in a high molecular weight multi-enzyme complex, and the enzymatic activity of neuraminidase is contingent on its interaction with PPCA. To explain the unusual need of neuraminidase for an auxiliary protein, we examined, in transfected COS-1 cells, the effect of PPCA expression on post-translational modification, turnover and intracellular localization of neuraminidase. In pulse-chase studies, we show that the enzyme is synthesized as a 46 kDa glycoprotein, which is poorly phosphorylated, does not undergo major proteolytic processing and is secreted. Importantly, its half-life is not altered by the presence of PPCA. However, neuraminidase associates with the PPCA precursor shortly after synthesis, since the latter protein co-precipitates with neuraminidase using anti-neuraminidase antibodies. We further demonstrate by subcellular fractionation of transfected cells that neuraminidase segregates to mature lysosomes only when accompanied by wild-type PPCA, but not by transport-impaired PPCA mutants. These data suggest a novel role for PPCA in the activation of lysosomal neuraminidase, that of an intracellular transport protein.