The spatiotemporal regulation of calcium (Ca2+
) storage in late endosomes (LE) and lysosomes (Lys) is increasingly recognized to influence a variety of membrane trafficking events, including endocytosis, exocytosis, and autophagy. Alterations in Ca2+
homeostasis within the LE/Lys compartment are implicated in human diseases, ranging from lysosomal storage diseases (LSDs) to neurodegeneration and cancer, and they correlate with changes in the membrane binding behaviour of Ca2+
-binding proteins. This also includes Annexins (AnxA), which is a family of Ca2+
-binding proteins participating in membrane traffic and tethering, microdomain organization, cytoskeleton interactions, Ca2+
signalling, and LE/Lys positioning. Although our knowledge regarding the way Annexins contribute to LE/Lys functions is still incomplete, recruitment of Annexins to LE/Lys is greatly influenced by the availability of Annexin bindings sites, including acidic phospholipids, such as phosphatidylserine (PS) and phosphatidic acid (PA), cholesterol, and phosphatidylinositol (4,5)-bisphosphate (PIP2). Moreover, the cytosolic portion of LE/Lys membrane proteins may also, directly or indirectly, determine the recruitment of Annexins to LE. Strikingly, within LE/Lys, AnxA1, A2, A6, and A8 differentially contribute to cholesterol transport along the endocytic route, in particular, cholesterol transfer between LE and other compartments, positioning Annexins at the centre of major pathways mediating cellular cholesterol homeostasis. Underlying mechanisms include the formation of membrane contact sites (MCS) and intraluminal vesicles (ILV), as well as the modulation of LE-cholesterol transporter activity. In this review, we will summarize the current understanding how Annexins contribute to influence LE/Lys membrane transport and associated functions.
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