MCOLN3/TRPML3 is a Ca2+-permeable cation channel that is expressed in multiple subcellular compartments with dynamic localization. Our previous studies suggest that upon macroautophagy/autophagy induction MCOLN3/TRPML3 is recruited and provides Ca2+ for the fusion process in autophagosome biogenesis. However, how intracellular trafficking and the Ca2+ channel function of MCOLN3/TRPML3 are related to autophagy are not known. Here we report that MCOLN3/TRPML3 undergoes palmitoylation at its C-terminal region, which is required for dynamic trafficking and cellular function of MCOLN3/TRPML3 in autophagy. Palmitoylation regulated MCOLN3/TRPML3 surface expression and trafficking, but not channel properties or localization and function of intracellular MCOLN3/TRPML3. Activation of intracellular MCOLN3/TRPML3 induced robust Ca2+ release, which solely increased autophagy in Ca2+- and palmitoylation-dependent manners. Palmitoylation regulated not only intracellular MCOLN3/TRPML3 trafficking to autophagic structures but also autophagic flux in induced autophagy. Importantly, nutrient starvation activated MCOLN3/TRPML3 to release Ca2+ and increased the level of MCOLN3/TRPML3 palmitoylation. Disruption of MCOLN3/TRPML3 palmitoylation, however, abolished the starvation-induced MCOLN3/TRPML3 activation without affecting channel activity. These results suggest that trafficking and channel function of MCOLN3/TRPML3 are regulated in the context of autophagy, and palmitoylation is a prerequisite for the function of MCOLN3/TRPML3 as a Ca2+ channel in autophagosome formation by controlling its trafficking between subcellular compartments.
Keywords: autophagy, Ca2+ channel, MCOLN3/TRPML3, membrane trafficking, palmitoylation