CLN3, the protein associated with batten disease: structure, function and localization

J Neurosci Res. 2005 Mar 1;79(5):573-83. doi: 10.1002/jnr.20367.


Batten disease, an inherited neurodegenerative storage disease affecting children, results from the autosomal recessive inheritance of mutations in Cln3. The function of the CLN3 protein remains unknown. A key to understanding the pathology of this devastating disease will be to elucidate the function of CLN3 at the cellular level. CLN3 has proven difficult to study as it is predicted to be a membrane protein expressed at relatively low levels. This article is a critical review of various approaches used in examining the structure, trafficking, and localization of CLN3. We conclude that CLN3 is likely resident in the lysosomal/endosomal membrane. Different groups have postulated conflicting orientations for CLN3 within this membrane. In addition, CLN3 undergoes several posttranslational modifications and is trafficked through the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi. Recent evidence also suggests that CLN3 traffics via the plasma membrane. Although the function of this protein remains elusive, it is apparent that genetic alterations in Cln3 may have a direct affect on lysosomal function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Lysosomes / metabolism
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / chemistry*
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Chaperones / chemistry*
  • Molecular Chaperones / metabolism*
  • Nerve Degeneration / metabolism
  • Neuronal Ceroid-Lipofuscinoses / metabolism*
  • Subcellular Fractions / metabolism


  • CLN3 protein, human
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Molecular Chaperones