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Science : a weekly journal devoted to the advancement of science / American Association for the Advancement of Science
During lysosomal acidification, proton-pump currents are thought to be shunted by a chloride ion (Cl-) channel, tentatively identified as ClC-7. Surprisingly, recent data suggest that ClC-7 instead mediates Cl-/proton (H+) exchange. We generated mice carrying a point mutation converting ClC-7 into an uncoupled (unc) Cl- conductor. Despite maintaining lysosomal conductance and normal lysosomal pH, these Clcn7(unc/unc) mice showed lysosomal storage disease like mice lacking ClC-7. However, their osteopetrosis was milder, and they lacked a coat color phenotype. Thus, only some roles of ClC-7 Cl-/H+ exchange can be taken over by a Cl- conductance. This conductance was even deleterious in Clcn7(+/unc) mice. Clcn7(-/-) and Clcn7(unc/unc) mice accumulated less Cl- in lysosomes than did wild-type mice. Thus, lowered lysosomal chloride may underlie their common phenotypes.