The emerging role of lysosomes in copper homeostasis
The lysosomal system operates as a focal point where a number of important physiological processes such as endocytosis, autophagy and nutrient sensing converge. One of the key functions of lysosomes consists of regulating the metabolism/homeostasis of metals. Metal-containing components are carried to the lysosome through incoming membrane flows, while numerous transporters allow metal ions to move across the lysosome membrane. These properties enable lysosomes to direct metal fluxes to the sites where metal ions are either used by cellular components or sequestered. Copper belongs to a group of metals that are essential for the activity of vitally important enzymes, although it is toxic when in excess. Thus, copper uptake, supply and intracellular compartmentalization have to be tightly regulated. An increasing number of publications have indicated that these processes involve lysosomes. Here we review studies that reveal the expanding role of the lysosomal system as a hub for the control of Cu homeostasis and for the regulation of key Cu-dependent processes in health and disease.