ESCRT-mediated lysosome repair precedes lysophagy and promotes cell survival

EMBO J. 2018 Nov 2;37(21):e99753. doi: 10.15252/embj.201899753. Epub 2018 Oct 12.


Although lysosomes perform a number of essential cellular functions, damaged lysosomes represent a potential hazard to the cell. Such lysosomes are therefore engulfed by autophagic membranes in the process known as lysophagy, which is initiated by recognition of luminal glycoprotein domains by cytosolic lectins such as Galectin-3. Here, we show that, under various conditions that cause injury to the lysosome membrane, components of the endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT)-I, ESCRT-II, and ESCRT-III are recruited. This recruitment occurs before that of Galectin-3 and the lysophagy machinery. Subunits of the ESCRT-III complex show a particularly prominent recruitment, which depends on the ESCRT-I component TSG101 and the TSG101- and ESCRT-III-binding protein ALIX Interference with ESCRT recruitment abolishes lysosome repair and causes otherwise reversible lysosome damage to become cell lethal. Vacuoles containing the intracellular pathogen Coxiella burnetii show reversible ESCRT recruitment, and interference with this recruitment reduces intravacuolar bacterial replication. We conclude that the cell is equipped with an endogenous mechanism for lysosome repair which protects against lysosomal damage-induced cell death but which also provides a potential advantage for intracellular pathogens.

Keywords: autophagy; endosome; lysophagy; lysosome; membrane repair.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism
  • Coxiella burnetii / metabolism*
  • Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport / genetics
  • Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport / metabolism*
  • Galectin 3 / genetics
  • Galectin 3 / metabolism
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Lysosomes / genetics
  • Lysosomes / metabolism*
  • Lysosomes / pathology
  • Q Fever / genetics
  • Q Fever / metabolism*
  • Q Fever / pathology


  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport
  • Galectin 3
  • PDCD6IP protein, human
  • galectin-3, human