GlcCer accumulation causes Gaucher disease where GlcCer breakdown is inhibited due to a hereditary deficiency in glucocerebrosidase. Glycolipids are endocytosed and targeted to the Golgi apparatus in normal cells but in Gaucher disease they are mistargeted to lysosomes. To better understand the role of GlcCer in endocytic sorting RAW macrophages were treated with Conduritol B-epoxide to inhibit GlcCer breakdown. Lipid analysis found increases in GlcCer led to accumulation of both triacylglycerol and cholesterol consistent with increased lysosomal pH. Ratio imaging of macrophages using both acridine orange and lysosensor yellow/blue to measure endolysosomal pH revealed increases in Conduritol B-epoxide treated RAW macrophages and Gaucher patient lymphoblasts. Increased endolysosomal pH was restricted to Gaucher lymphoblasts as no significant increases in pH were seen in Fabry, Krabbe, Tay-Sachs and GM1-gangliosidosis lymphoblasts. Substrate reduction therapy utilises inhibitors of GlcCer synthase to reduce storage in Gaucher disease. The addition of inhibitors of GlcCer synthesis to RAW macrophages also led to increases in cholesterol and triacylglycerol and an endolysosomal pH increase of up to 1 pH unit. GlcCer modulation appears specific since glucosylsphingosine but not galactosylsphingosine reversed the effects of GlcCer depletion. Although no acute effects on glycolipid trafficking were observed using bafilomycin A the results are consistent with a multistep model whereby increases in pH lead to altered trafficking via cholesterol accumulation. GlcCer modulates endolysosomal pH in lymphocytes suggesting an important role in normal lysosomes which may be disrupted in Gaucher disease.
Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.