Current concepts in the neuropathogenesis of mucolipidosis type IV

J Neurochem. 2019 Mar;148(5):669-689. doi: 10.1111/jnc.14462. Epub 2018 Aug 30.


Mucolipidosis type IV (MLIV) is an autosomal recessive, lysosomal storage disorder causing progressively severe intellectual disability, motor and speech deficits, retinal degeneration often culminating in blindness, and systemic disease causing a shortened lifespan. MLIV results from mutations in the gene MCOLN1 encoding the transient receptor potential channel mucolipin-1. It is an ultra-rare disease and is currently known to affect just over 100 diagnosed individuals. The last decade has provided a wealth of research focused on understanding the role of the enigmatic mucolipin-1 protein in cell and brain function and how its absence causes disease. This review explores our current understanding of the mucolipin-1 protein in relation to neuropathogenesis in MLIV and describes recent findings implicating mucolipin-1's important role in mechanistic target of rapamycin and TFEB (transcription factor EB) signaling feedback loops as well as in the function of the greater endosomal/lysosomal system. In addition to addressing the vital role of mucolipin-1 in the brain, we also report new data on the question of whether haploinsufficiency as would be anticipated in MCOLN1 heterozygotes is associated with any evidence of neuron dysfunction or disease. Greater insights into the role of mucolipin-1 in the nervous system can be expected to shed light not only on MLIV disease but also on numerous processes governing normal brain function. This article is part of the Special Issue "Lysosomal Storage Disorders".

Keywords: TFEB; mTOR; autophagy; heterozygote; lysosomal disease; lysosome.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Mucolipidoses*