Mutations in vacuolar protein sorting 35 (VPS35) have been linked to familial Parkinson's disease (PD). VPS35, a component of the retromer, mediates the retrograde transport of cargo from the endosome to the trans-Golgi network. Here we showed that retromer depletion increases the lysosomal turnover of the mannose 6-phosphate receptor, thereby affecting the trafficking of cathepsin D (CTSD), a lysosome protease involved in α-synuclein (αSYN) degradation. VPS35 knockdown perturbed the maturation step of CTSD in parallel with the accumulation of αSYN in the lysosomes. Furthermore, we found that the knockdown of Drosophila VPS35 not only induced the accumulation of the detergent-insoluble αSYN species in the brain but also exacerbated both locomotor impairments and mild compound eye disorganization and interommatidial bristle loss in flies expressing human αSYN. These findings indicate that the retromer may play a crucial role in αSYN degradation by modulating the maturation of CTSD and might thereby contribute to the pathogenesis of the disease.
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