Cholesterol transfer via endoplasmic reticulum contacts mediates lysosome damage repair

EMBO J. 2022 Dec 15;41(24):e112677. doi: 10.15252/embj.2022112677. Epub 2022 Nov 21.


Lysosome integrity is essential for cell viability, and lesions in lysosome membranes are repaired by the ESCRT machinery. Here, we describe an additional mechanism for lysosome repair that is activated independently of ESCRT recruitment. Lipidomic analyses showed increases in lysosomal phosphatidylserine and cholesterol after damage. Electron microscopy demonstrated that lysosomal membrane damage is rapidly followed by the formation of contacts with the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), which depends on the ER proteins VAPA/B. The cholesterol-binding protein ORP1L was recruited to damaged lysosomes, accompanied by cholesterol accumulation by a mechanism that required VAP-ORP1L interactions. The PtdIns 4-kinase PI4K2A rapidly produced PtdIns4P on lysosomes upon damage, and knockout of PI4K2A inhibited damage-induced accumulation of ORP1L and cholesterol and led to the failure of lysosomal membrane repair. The cholesterol-PtdIns4P transporter OSBP was also recruited upon damage, and its depletion caused lysosomal accumulation of PtdIns4P and resulted in cell death. We conclude that ER contacts are activated on damaged lysosomes in parallel to ESCRTs to provide lipids for membrane repair, and that PtdIns4P generation and removal are central in this response.

Keywords: cholesterol; lysosome; membrane contact site; membrane repair; phosphoinositide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport / metabolism
  • Lysosomes / metabolism
  • Receptors, Steroid* / metabolism


  • Receptors, Steroid
  • Cholesterol
  • Endosomal Sorting Complexes Required for Transport