Snf7p (sucrose non-fermenting) and Vps20p (vacuolar protein-sorting) are small coil-coiled proteins involved in yeast MVB (multivesicular body) structure, formation and function. In the present study, we report the identification of three human homologues of yeast Snf7p, designated hSnf7-1, hSnf7-2 and hSnf7-3, and a single human Vps20p homologue, designated hVps20, that may have similar roles in humans. Immunofluorescence studies showed that hSnf7-1 and hSnf7-3 localized in large vesicular structures that also co-localized with late endosomal/lysosomal structures induced by overexpressing an ATPase-defective Vps4-A mutant. In contrast, overexpressed hVps20 showed a typical endosomal membrane-staining pattern, and co-expression of hVps20 with Snf7-1 dispersed the large Snf7-staining vesicles. Interestingly, overexpression of both hSnf7 and hVps20 proteins induced a post-endosomal defect in cholesterol sorting. To explore possible protein–protein interactions involving hSnf7 proteins, we used information from yeast genomic studies showing that yeast Snf7p can interact with proteins involved in MVB function. Using a glutathione S-transferase-capture approach with several mammalian homologues of such yeast Snf7p-interacting proteins, we found that all three hSnf7s interacted with mouse AIP1 [ALG-2 (apoptosis-linked gene 2) interacting protein 1], a mammalian Bro1p [BCK1 (bypass of C kinase)-like resistance to osmotic shock]-containing protein involved in cellular vacuolization and apoptosis. Whereas mapping experiments showed that the N-terminus of AIP1 containing both a Bro1 and an α-helical domain were required for interaction with hSnf7-1, Snf7-1 did not interact with another human Bro1-containing molecule, rhophilin-2. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments confirmed the in vivo interaction of hSnf7-1 and AIP1. Additional immunofluorescence experiments showed that hSnf7-1 recruited cytosolic AIP1 to the Snf7-induced vacuolar-like structures. Together these results suggest that mammalian Vps20, AIP1 and Snf7 proteins, like their yeast counterparts, play roles in MVB function.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.