Chediak-Higashi Syndrome (CHS) is an autosomal recessive disease affecting secretory granules and lysosomes-like organelles. In CHS fibroblasts, acidic organelles are abnormally large and clustered in the perinuclear area. We have analyzed fibroblast cell lines from a CHS patient and from the murine model for CHS, the beige mouse, to determine which lysosome-like compartments are affected. Uptake of neutral red showed that in both beige and CHS cell lines, the acidic organelles were markedly clustered in the perinuclear region of the cells. Giant organelles (> 4 microns) were observed in a fraction of the cells, and these were more dramatic in the beige fibroblasts than in the CHS fibroblasts. The total dye uptake of both mutant cell lines was similar to their respective wild type fibroblasts, suggesting that the overall volume of acidic compartments is unaffected by the disorder. Histochemistry and immunofluorescence showed that the giant organelles in both beige and CHS fibroblasts were positive for cathepsin D, lysosome-associated membrane protein (LAMP) 1, LAMP 2, and a 120-kD lysosomal glycoprotein, all marker proteins for late endosomes and lysosomes. The giant organelles were also negative for transferrin receptor and mannose-6-phosphate receptor, and most of them were also negative for rab 7. This distribution of marker proteins shows that the giant organelles in both beige and CHS are derived from late compartments of the endocytic pathway. This conclusion was confirmed using endocytic tracers. BSA was transported to the giant organelles, but only after long incubation times, and only at 37 degrees C. alpha 2-Macroglobulin was taken up and degraded at similar rates by CHS or beige cells and their respective wild type control cells. Taken together, our results indicate that the mutation in CHS specifically affects late endosomes and lysosomes, with little or no effect on early endosomes. Although the mutation clearly causes mislocalization of these organelles, it appears to have little effect on their endocytic and degradative functions.

This content is only available as a PDF.