Connolly KJ, O'Hare MB, Mohammed A, Aitchison KM, Anthoney NC, Taylor MJ, Stewart BA, Tuxworth RI, Tear G (2019) The neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis protein Cln7 functions in the postsynaptic cell to regulate synapse development. Sci Rep 9: 15592

The neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses (NCLs) are a group of fatal, monogenic neurodegenerative disorders with an early onset in infancy or childhood. Despite identification of the genes disrupted in each form of the disease, their normal cellular role and how their deficits lead to disease pathology is not fully understood. Cln7, a major facilitator superfamily domain-containing protein, is affected in a late infantile-onset form of NCL. Cln7 is conserved across species suggesting a common function. Here we demonstrate that Cln7 is required for the normal growth of synapses at the Drosophila larval neuromuscular junction. In a Cln7 mutant, synapses fail to develop fully leading to reduced function and behavioral changes with dysregulation of TOR activity. Cln7 expression is restricted to the post-synaptic cell and the protein localizes to vesicles immediately adjacent to the post-synaptic membrane. Our data suggest an involvement for Cln7 in regulating trans-synaptic communication necessary for normal synapse development.

Pubmed: 31666534