The Neuron-Specific Protein TMEM59L Mediates Oxidative Stress-Induced Cell Death

Qiuyang Zheng, Xiaoyuan Zheng, Lishan Zhang, Hong Luo, Lingzhi Qian, Xing Fu, Yiqian Liu, Yuehong Gao, Mengxi Niu, Jian Meng, Muxian Zhang, Guojun Bu, Huaxi Xu, Yun wu Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


TMEM59L is a newly identified brain-specific membrane-anchored protein with unknown functions. Herein we found that both TMEM59L and its homolog, TMEM59, are localized in Golgi and endosomes. However, in contrast to a ubiquitous and relatively stable temporal expression of TMEM59, TMEM59L expression was limited in neurons and increased during development. We also found that both TMEM59L and TMEM59 interacted with ATG5 and ATG16L1, and that overexpression of them triggered cell autophagy. However, overexpression of TMEM59L induced intrinsic caspase-dependent apoptosis more dramatically than TMEM59. In addition, downregulation of TMEM59L prevented neuronal cell death and caspase-3 activation caused by hydrogen peroxide insults and reduced the lipidation of LC3B. Finally, we found that AAV-mediated knockdown of TMEM59L in mice significantly ameliorated caspase-3 activation, increased mouse duration in the open arm during elevated plus maze test, reduced mouse immobility time during forced swim test, and enhanced mouse memory during Y-maze and Morris water maze tests. Together, our study indicates that TMEM59L is a pro-apoptotic neuronal protein involved in animal behaviors such as anxiety, depression, and memory, and that TMEM59L downregulation protects neurons against oxidative stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4189-4200
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Neurobiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1 2017


  • Apoptosis
  • Autophagy
  • Oxidative stress
  • TMEM59
  • TMEM59L

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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