Feast or famine: Role of TRPML in preventing cellular amino acid starvation

Kartik Venkatachalam, Ching On Wong, Craig Montell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Lysosomal storage diseases are metabolic disorders characterized by the accumulation of acidic vacuoles, and are usually the consequence of the deficiency of an enzyme responsible for the metabolism of vesicular lipids, proteins or carbohydrates. In contrast, mucolipidosis type IV (MLIV), results from the absence of a vesicular Ca2+ release channel called mucolipin 1/transient receptor potential mucolipin 1 (MCOLN1/ TRPML1) which is required for the fusion of amphisomes with lysosomes. In Drosophila, ablation of the MCOLN1 homolog (trpml ) leads to diminished viability during pupation when the animals rely on autophagy for nutrients. This pupal lethality results from decreased target of rapamycin complex 1 (TORC1) signaling, and is reversed by reactivating TORC1. Our findings indicate that one of the primary causes of toxicity in the absence of TRPML is cellular amino acid starvation, and the resulting decrease in TORC1 activity. Furthermore, our findings raise the intriguing possibility that the neurological dysfunction in MLIV patients may arise from amino acid deprivation in neurons. Therefore, future studies evaluating the levels of amino acids and TORC1 activity in MLIV neurons may aid in the development of novel therapeutic strategies to combat the severe manifestations of MLIV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-100
Number of pages3
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


  • Amino acids
  • Autophagy
  • Endosomal
  • MLIV
  • MTOR
  • Mucolipidosis type IV
  • Mucolipin
  • TORC1
  • TRP channels


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