Protein catabolism in fibroblasts cultured from the skin of normal individuals and of patients with mucolipidosis II (I-cell disease) and several other lysosomal storage diseases was examined by metabolic labelling with [3H]leucine and following the fate of radioactive proteins in pulse-chase experiments. In mucolipidosis II cells, overall protein degradative rates were found to be distinctly lower than in normal control cells. To distinguish lysosomal from non-lysosomal degradation, labelling experiments were carried out in the presence and absence of 10 mM NH4Cl, an inhibitor of lysosomal function. It was found that mucolipidosis II fibroblasts exhibited a markedly reduced rate of lysosomal protein degradation, whereas the rate of nonlysosomal degradation appeared normal. Serum and amino acid starvation led to a marked increase in lysosomal protein degradation in normal cells, but had only a minimal effect on that in mucolipidosis II fibroblasts. The specific activities of cathepsins B, H and L were profoundly diminished in all mucolipidosis II cell lines tested. Lysosomal protein degradation in a mucolipidosis III cell line was impaired to a similar degree as in mucolipidosis II cells, whereas it was decreased to a lesser extent in fibroblasts from patients with mucopolysaccharidoses I and VI, galactosialidosis and GM1-gangliosidosis. We conclude that fibroblasts from patients with mucolipidosis II and III have a severely compromised capacity for endogenous lysosomal protein degradation that appears to result from multiple cathepsin deficiency. This lysosomal defect is likely to have pathophysiological consequences.
Ornithine decarboxylase (ODC) was purified 6500-fold from NMRI mouse kidneys under conditions designed to inhibit degradation by proteinases. The enzyme was homogeneous by SDS/polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis, and the specific activity was among the highest reported. The yield was 70%. A monoclonal antibody against this preparation was generated and used in studies to investigate the half-life of ODC in cultured rat hepatocytes labelled with [35S]methionine. This value was 39 +/- 4 min and was unchanged when either NH4Cl (as a lysosomotropic agent) or leupeptin (as a lysosomal proteinase inhibitor) was added to the culture medium. Thus the intracellular turnover of ODC in cultured hepatocytes occurs mainly in extra-lysosomal compartments. Arginylation of rat ODC was investigated in vitro by incubation with L-[3H]arginyl-tRNA, and the incorporation of the label was compared with that of total cytosolic proteins. Arginylated ODC had a specific radioactivity 8600 times that of the bulk of cytosolic protein. Edman degradation of this ODC showed that the post-translational arginylation occurred only at the alpha-amino end of the enzyme. The inhibitor of arginyl-tRNA:protein arginyltransferase (EC 126.96.36.199), L-glutamyl-L-valyl-L-phenylalanine, increased the half-life of ODC in cultured hepatocytes from 39 min to more than 90 min. The possible significance of the preferential post-translational arginylation of ornithine decarboxylase to its rapid turnover is discussed.