NPC1 regulates the distribution of phosphatidylinositol 4-kinases at Golgi and lysosomal membranes

Candice Kutchukian, Oscar Vivas, Maria Casas, Julia G. Jones, Scott A. Tiscione, Sergi Simo Olivar, Daniel S. Ory, Rose E. Dixon, Eamonn J. Dickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Cholesterol and phosphoinositides (PI) are two critically important lipids that are found in cellular membranes and dysregulated in many disorders. Therefore, uncovering molecular pathways connecting these essential lipids may offer new therapeutic insights. We report that loss of function of lysosomal Niemann-Pick Type C1 (NPC1) cholesterol transporter, which leads to neurodegenerative NPC disease, initiates a signaling cascade that alters the cholesterol/phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate (PtdIns4P) countertransport cycle between Golgi-endoplasmic reticulum (ER), as well as lysosome-ER membrane contact sites (MCS). Central to these disruptions is increased recruitment of phosphatidylinositol 4-kinases—PI4KIIα and PI4KIIIβ—which boosts PtdIns4P metabolism at Golgi and lysosomal membranes. Aberrantly increased PtdIns4P levels elevate constitutive anterograde secretion from the Golgi complex, and mTORC1 recruitment to lysosomes. NPC1 disease mutations phenocopy the transporter loss of function and can be rescued by inhibition or knockdown of either key phosphoinositide enzymes or their recruiting partners. In summary, we show that the lysosomal NPC1 cholesterol transporter tunes the molecular content of Golgi and lysosome MCS to regulate intracellular trafficking and growth signaling in health and disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEMBO Journal
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • membrane contact sites
  • mTORC
  • neurodegeneration
  • Niemann-Pick Type C
  • phosphoinositides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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