Mfsd8 localizes to endocytic compartments and influences the secretion of Cln5 and cathepsin D in Dictyostelium


The neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCLs) are a family of neurodegenerative diseases that affect people of all ages and ethnicities, yet many of the associated genes/proteins are not well characterized. Mutations in MFSD8 (major facilitator superfamily domain-containing 8) cause an infantile form of NCL referred to as CLN7 disease. In this study, we revealed the localization and binding partners of an ortholog of human MFSD8 (Mfsd8) in the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum. Putative lysosomal targeting motifs are conserved in Dictyostelium Mfsd8, as are several residues mutated in CLN7 disease patients. Mfsd8 tagged with GFP localizes to endocytic compartments, which includes acidic intracellular vesicles and late endosomes. We pulled-down GFP-Mfsd8 and used mass spectrometry to reveal the Mfsd8 interactome during Dictyostelium growth and starvation. Among the identified hits were the Dictyostelium ortholog of human cathepsin D (CtsD), as well as proteins linked to the functions of the CLN3 (Cln3) and CLN5 (Cln5) orthologs in Dictyostelium. To study the function of Mfsd8, we validated a publically available mfsd8− cell line (GWDI Project) and then used this knockout cell line to show that Mfsd8 influences the secretion of Cln5 and CtsD. This information is then integrated into an emerging model describing the molecular networking of NCL proteins in Dictyostelium. In total, this study identifies Dictyostelium as a new model system for studying CLN7 disease.