Defective Lipid Droplet-Lysosome Interaction Causes Fatty Liver Disease as Evidenced by Human Mutations in TMEM199 and CCDC115

Lars E. Larsen, Marjolein A. W. van den Boogert, Wilson A. Rios-Ocampo, Jos C. Jansen, Donna Conlon, Patrick L. E. Chong, J. Han M. Levels, Roos E. Eilers, Vinay V. Sachdev, Noam Zelcer, Tobias Raabe, Miao He, Nicholas J. Hand, Joost P. H. Drenth, David J. Rader, Eric S. G. Stroes, Dirk J. Lefeber, Johan W. Jonker, Adriaan G. Holleborn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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BACKGROUND & AIMS: Recently, novel inborn errors of metabolism were identified because of mutations in V-ATPase assembly factors TMEM199 and CCDC115. Patients are characterized by generalized protein glycosylation defects, hypercholesterolemia, and fatty liver disease. Here, we set out to characterize the lipid and fatty liver phenotype in human plasma, cell models, and a mouse model.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Patients with TMEM199 and CCDC115 mutations displayed hyperlipidemia, characterized by increased levels of lipoproteins in the very low density lipoprotein range. HepG2 hepatoma cells, in which the expression of TMEM199 and CCDC115 was silenced, and induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived hepatocyte-like cells from patients with TMEM199 mutations showed markedly increased secretion of apolipoprotein B (apoB) compared with controls. A mouse model for TMEM199 deficiency with a CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knock-in of the human A7E mutation had marked hepatic steatosis on chow diet. Plasma N-glycans were hypogalactosylated, consistent with the patient phenotype, but no clear plasma lipid abnormalities were observed in the mouse model. In the siTMEM199 and siCCDC115 HepG2 hepatocyte models, increased numbers and size of lipid droplets were observed, including abnormally large lipid droplets, which colocalized with lysosomes. Excessive de novo lipogenesis, failing oxidative capacity, and elevated lipid uptake were not observed. Further investigation of lysosomal function revealed impaired acidification combined with impaired autophagic capacity.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that the hyperchole-sterolemia in TMEM199 and CCDC115 deficiency is due to increased secretion of apoB-containing particles. This may in turn be secondary to the hepatic steatosis observed in these patients as well as in the mouse model. Mechanistically, we observed impaired lysosomal function characterized by reduced acidification, autophagy, and increased lysosomal lipid accumulation. These findings could explain the hepatic steatosis seen in patients and highlight the importance of lipophagy in fatty liver disease. Because this pathway remains understudied and its regulation is largely untargeted, further exploration of this pathway may offer novel strategies for therapeutic interventions to reduce lipotoxicity in fatty liver disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-597
Number of pages15
JournalCellular and molecular gastroenterology and hepatology
Issue number2
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • V-ATPase assembly defects
  • Lipophagy
  • Lipid droplet
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Hyperlipidemia
  • Mutations in TMEM199 and in CCDC115

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