Author(s): Xian-ping Dong, Dongbiao Shen, Xiang Wang, Taylor Dawson, Xinran Li, Qi Zhang, Xiping Cheng, Yanling Zhang, Lois S. Weisman, Markus Delling, Haoxing Xu
New research by University of Michigan cell biologist Haoxing Xu and colleagues reveals key details about how the cell's garbage dump and recycling center, the lysosome, functions. These insights, which may lead to better understanding of conditions such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease) and Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, suggest new avenues of treatment for these and other diseases that cause nerves and muscles to malfunction. Scientists know a lot about the workings of calcium channels in the surfaces of muscle and nerve cells, but understanding what goes in the lysosome–a tiny pouch hidden inside the cell–has been a challenge, said Xu. To explore the channel and its workings, Xu's group modified a technique known as the patch clamp. With their modification, the researchers determined that a protein called TRPML1 serves as the calcium channel in lysosomes and that a lipid known as PI(3,5)P2 carries the signal that activates the protein.
Name of Periodical: Nature Communications
Year of Publication: 2010