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The integral membrane protein LIMP-2 has been a paradigm for mannose 6-phosphate receptor (MPR) independent lysosomal targeting, binding to β-glucocerebrosidase (β-GCase) and directing it to the lysosome, before dissociating in the late-endosomal/lysosomal compartments. Here we report structural results illuminating how LIMP-2 binds and releases β-GCase according to changes in pH, via a histidine trigger, and suggesting that LIMP-2 localizes the ceramide portion of the substrate adjacent to the β-GCase catalytic site. Remarkably, we find that LIMP-2 bears P-Man9GlcNAc2 covalently attached to residue N325, and that it binds MPR, via mannose 6-phosphate, with a similar affinity to that observed between LIMP-2 and β-GCase. The binding sites for β-GCase and the MPR are functionally separate, so that a stable ternary complex can be formed. By fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy, we also demonstrate that LIMP-2 interacts with MPR in living cells. These results revise the accepted view of LIMP-2-β-GCase lysosomal targeting.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Commun

Publication Date





Blotting, Western, Cell Line, Glucosylceramidase, Humans, Lysosome-Associated Membrane Glycoproteins, Lysosomes, Protein Transport, Receptor, IGF Type 2, Receptors, Scavenger