Familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis 5 (FHL5) is an autosomal recessive disease caused by mutations in STXBP2, coding for Munc18-2, which is required for SNARE-mediated membrane fusion. FHL5 causes hematologic and gastrointestinal symptoms characterized by chronic enteropathy that is reminiscent of microvillus inclusion disease (MVID). However, the molecular pathophysiology of FHL5-associated diarrhea is poorly understood. Five FHL5 patients, including four previously unreported patients, were studied. Morphology of duodenal sections was analyzed by electron and fluorescence microscopy. Small intestinal enterocytes and organoid-derived monolayers displayed the subcellular characteristics of MVID. For the analyses of Munc18-2–dependent SNARE-protein interactions, a Munc18-2 CaCo2–KO model cell line was generated by applying CRISPR/Cas9 technology. Munc18-2 is required for Slp4a/Stx3 interaction in fusion of cargo vesicles with the apical plasma membrane. Cargo trafficking was investigated in patient biopsies, patient-derived organoids, and the genome-edited model cell line. Loss of Munc18-2 selectively disrupts trafficking of certain apical brush-border proteins (NHE3 and GLUT5), while transport of DPPIV remained unaffected. Here, we describe the molecular mechanism how the loss of function of Munc18-2 leads to cargo-selective mislocalization of brush-border components and a subapical accumulation of cargo vesicles, as it is known from the loss of polarity phenotype in MVID.


Georg F. Vogel, Jorik M. van Rijn, Iris M. Krainer, Andreas R. Janecke, Carsten Posovszky, Marta Cohen, Claire Searle, Prevost Jantchou, Johanna C. Escher, Natalie Patey, Ernest Cutz, Thomas Müller, Sabine Middendorp, Michael W. Hess, Lukas A. Huber


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