Whole-body analysis of TRPML3 (MCOLN3) expression using a GFP-reporter mouse model reveals widespread expression in secretory cells and endocrine glands

Barbara Spix, Andrew J. Castiglioni, Natalie N. Remis, Emma N. Flores, Philipp Wartenberg, Amanda Wyatt, Ulrich Boehm, Thomas Gudermann, Martin Biel, Jaime García-Añoveros*, Christian Grimm*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


TRPML3 (mucolipin 3, MCOLN3) is an endolysosomal cation channel belonging to the TRPML subfamily of transient receptor potential channels. Gain-of-function mutations in the Trpml3 gene cause deafness, circling behavior and coat color dilution in mice due to cell death of TRPML3-expressing hair cells of the inner ear or skin melanocytes, respectively. Furthermore, TRPML3 was found to play a role in the long term survival of cochlear hair cells (its absence contributing to presbycusis), in specialized giant lysosomes that neonatal (birth to weaning) enterocytes used for the uptake and digestion of maternal milk nutrients, and in the expulsion of exosome-encased bacteria such as uropathogenic E. coli, infecting bladder epithelial cells. Recently, TRPML3 was found to be expressed at high levels in alveolar macrophages and loss of TRPML3 results in a lung emphysema phenotype, confirmed in two independently engineered Trpml3 knockout lines. TRPML3 is not ubiquitously expressed like its relative TRPML1 and thus cellular expression of TRPML3 on a whole-tissue level remains, with the exceptions mentioned above, largely elusive. To overcome this problem, we generated a τGFP reporter mouse model for TRPML3 and compared expression data obtained from this model by immunofluorescence on tissue sections with immunohistochemistry using TRPML3 antibodies and in situ hybridization. We thus uncovered expression in several organs and distinct cell types. We confirmed TRPML3 expression in both neonatal and adult alveolar macrophages, in melanocytes of hair follicles and glabrous skin, in principle cells of the collecting duct of the neonatal and adult kidney, and in olfactory sensory neurons of the olfactory epithelium, including its fibres protruding to the glomeruli of the olfactory bulb. Additionally, we localized TRPML3 in several glands including parathyroid, thyroid, salivary, adrenal, and pituitary gland, testes and ovaries, suggestive of potential roles for the channel in secretion or uptake of different hormones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0278848
JournalPloS one
Issue number12 December
StatePublished - Dec 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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