Stuck in traffic: an emerging theme in diseases of the nervous system

The past decade has seen an explosion of DNA sequencing activities and many mutations and genetic variances underlying neurological and neurodegenerative diseases have been determined. This wealth of genetic data is now placed in molecular pathways revealing the nodes that underlie the disrupted processes. Many mutations in neurological diseases affect proteins controlling endosomal/lysosomal transport. Although the age of onset of these diseases range from juvenile [i.e., Niemann–Pick type C (NPC) and Charcot–Marie–Tooth (CMT) disease] to late onset (Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease), deregulation of endosomal transport is a common theme. This review summarizes how elucidating the genetic basis for the various neurological diseases has advanced our understanding of the endolysosomal system and why the various mutations all translate into similar disease phenotypes.

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