Developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEE) are rare and serious neurological disorders characterized by severe epilepsy with refractory seizures and a significant developmental delay. Recently, DEE73 was linked to genetic alterations of the RNF13 gene, which convert positions 311 or 312 in the RNF13 protein from leucine to serine or proline, respectively (L311S and L312P). Using a fluorescence microscopy approach to investigate the molecular and cellular mechanisms affected by RNF13 protein variants, the current study shows that wild-type RNF13 localizes extensively with endosomes and lysosomes, while L311S and L312P do not extensively colocalize with the lysosomal marker Lamp1. Our results show that RNF13 L311S and L312P proteins affect the size of endosomal vesicles along with the temporal and spatial progression of fluorescently labeled epidermal growth factor, but not transferrin, in the endolysosomal system. Furthermore, GST-pulldown and co-immunoprecipitation show that RNF13 variants disrupt association with AP-3 complex. Knockdown of AP-3 complex subunit AP3D1 alters the lysosomal localization of wild-type RNF13 and similarly affects the size of endosomal vesicles. Importantly, our study provides a first step toward understanding the cellular and molecular mechanism altered by DEE73-associated genetic variations of RNF13.
Keywords: AP-3 complex; RNF13; developmental and epileptic encephalopathy-73; endosomes; genetic mutations; intracellular trafficking; lysosomes.