Cathepsin E is critical for proper trafficking of cell surface proteins

Takayuki Tsukuba, Kuniaki Okamoto, Kenji Yamamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Cathepsin E is an intracellular aspartic proteinase of the pepsin superfamily, which is predominantly expressed in certain cell types, such as the immune-related cells and rapidly regenerating cells. Recent studies have demonstrated that loss of cathepsin E in mice impairs their normal immune responses. In antigen-presenting cells (APC) such as macrophages, dendritic cells, and microglia, cathepsin E is localized mainly in the endosomal component and regulates the nature and functions of these cells. Deficiency of cathepsin E in macrophages induces a novel form of lysosomal storage disorder manifesting the accumulation of major lysosomal membrane glycoproteins such as LAMP-1 and LAMP-2 and elevated lysosomal pH. Such alterations in these cells are linked to abnormal intracellular trafficking of secretory and cell surface proteins. In fact, cathepsin E deficiency leads to increased secretion of a variety of soluble lysosomal enzymes including cathepsins and glycosidases, into the culture medium. By contrast, the expression and localization of cell surface proteins including Toll-like receptors, chemotactic receptors, and cell-adhesion receptors, as well as LAMPs, is significantly decreased by cathepsin E deficiency. While these alterations are not observed with cathepsin E-deficient (CatE-/-) dendritic cells, the cell surface expression and localization of the costimulatory molecules CD86, CD80, and CD40 were significantly increased in these cells, indicating that cathepsin E differentially regulates the nature and function of these two APC. This review focuses on the emerging roles of cathepsin E in proper intracellular trafficking of both secretory and cell surface proteins in APC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-53
Number of pages6
Journaljournal of oral biosciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Cathepsin E
  • Cell surface
  • Immune function
  • Membrane trafficking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Dentistry


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