This functional relationship between PGRN and cathepsin D provides a possible explanation for overlapping NCL-like pathology observed in patients with mutations in PGRN or CTSD, the gene encoding cathepsin D. Together, our work identifies PGRN as an activator of lysosomal cathepsin D activity, and suggests that decreased cathepsin D activity due to loss of PGRN contributes to both FTD and NCL pathology in a dose-dependent manner.
Neurologic phenotypes of cathepsin D (CTSD)-deficient mice, a murine model of neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses, indicate the importance of CTSD for the maintenance of metabolism in central nervous system neurons.
CTSD is the gene encoding Cathepsin D (CTSD), a lysosomal protein hydrolase, and homozygous CTSD deficiency results in neuronal ceroid-lipofuscinosis, which is characterized by the early onset, progressive neurodegeneration.
In Grn(-/-) mice the lysosomal proteins cathepsin D (CTSD), LAMP (lysosomal-associated membrane protein) 1 and the NCL storage components saposin D and subunit c of mitochondrial ATP synthase (SCMAS) were all found to be elevated.
Although functions are defined for some of the soluble proteins that are defective in NCL (cathepsin D, PPT1, and TPP1), the primary function of the other proteins defective in NCLs (CLN3, CLN5, CLN6, CLN7, and CLN8) remain poorly defined.
Remaining neurons, astrocytes and macrophages contained PAS-positive storage material with granular ultrastructure and immunoreactivity against sphingolipid activator protein D. A diagnosis of congenital NCL was rendered with a novel mutation, c.299C > T (p.Ser100Phe) in exon 3 of the cathepsin D gene.
Mutation that abolishes CD enzymatic activity causes neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL) characterized by severe neurodegeneration, developmental regression, visual loss and epilepsy in both animals and humans.
Five types of NCL are caused by mutations in lysosomal proteins (CTSD, CLN1/PPT1, CLN2/TTPI, CLN3 and CLN5), and one type is caused by mutations in a protein that recycles between the ER and ERGIC (CLN8).
Mutations in genes encoding three lysosomal enzymes are the causes for three early-onset forms of NCLs: palmitoyl-protein thioesterase 1 (PPT1) is deficient in human infantile NCL, tripeptidyl peptidase 1 (TTP1) in late-infantile NCL, and cathepsin D in congenital ovine NCL.