B lymphocytes from patients with I-cell disease (ICD) maintain normal cellular levels of lysosomal enzymes despite a deficiency of the enzyme UDP-N-acetylglucosamine: lysosomal enzyme N-acetylglucosamine-1-phosphotransferase. We find that an ICD B lymphoblastoid cell line targets about 45% of the lysosomal protease cathepsin D to dense lysosomes. This targeting occurs in the absence of detectable mannose 6-phosphate residues on the cathepsin D and is not observed in ICD fibroblasts. The secretory protein pepsinogen, which is closely related to cathepsin D in both amino acid sequence and three-dimensional structure, is mostly excluded from dense lysosomes, indicating that the lymphoblast targeting pathway is specific. Carbohydrate residues are not required for lysosomal targeting, since a non-glycosylated mutant cathepsin D is sorted with comparable efficiency to the wild type protein. Analysis of a number of cathepsin D/pepsinogen chimeric proteins indicates that an extensive polypeptide determinant in the cathepsin D carboxyl lobe can confer efficient lysosomal sorting when introduced into the pepsinogen sequence. This determinant overlaps but is not identical to the recognition marker for phosphotransferase. These results indicate that a specific protein recognition event underlies Man-6-P-independent lysosomal sorting in ICD lymphoblasts.

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