Neuronal lysosomes

Neurosci Lett. 2019 Apr 1;697:1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2018.04.005. Epub 2018 Apr 4.


Lysosomes support diverse cellular functions by acting as sites of macromolecule degradation and nutrient recycling. The degradative abilities of lysosomes are conferred by a lumen that is characterized by an acidic pH and which contains numerous hydrolases that support the breakdown of major cellular macromolecules to yield cellular building blocks (amino acids, nucleic acids, sugars, lipids and metals) that are transported into the cytoplasm for their re-use. In addition to these important hydrolytic and recycling functions, lysosomes also serve as a signaling platform that integrates nutrient and metabolic cues to control signaling via the mTORC1 pathway. Due to their extreme longevity, polarity, demands of neurotransmission and metabolic activity, neurons are particularly sensitive to perturbations in lysosome function. The dependence of neurons on optimal lysosome function is highlighted by insights from human genetics that link lysosome dysfunction to a wide range of both rare and common neurological diseases. How then is lysosome function adapted to the unique demands of neurons? This review will focus on the roles played by lysosomes in distinct neuronal sub-compartments, the regulation of neuronal lysosome sub-cellular localization and the implications of such neuronal lysosome regulation for both physiology and disease.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Autophagosome; Axon; Dendrite; Endosome; Hereditary spastic paraplegia; Lysosome; mTORC1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autophagy / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lysosomes / metabolism*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / metabolism*