Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary Although it is generally accepted that phagosome acidification is induced through the activity of a vacuolar proton pump (V-ATPase) present on the phagosome membrane, exactly how these pumps are delivered to the phagosomes is not well understood. To study this question inParamecium, it was necessary to first show that an authentic V-ATPase was present on their phagosomal membranes. Three antibodies raised against V-ATPases or their subunits were each found to label one or two large digestive vacuoles (DVs) inParamecium multimicronucleatum when immunofluorescence microscopy was used. Using horseradish peroxidase immunocytochemistry to increase sensitivity, about 10 DVs were shown to contain a V-ATPase. In high magnification images and cryoultramicrotomy these proton pumps were found to be located on the acidosomes, suggesting the vacuolar proton pumps on the DVs originate from the acidosomes. The authenticity of the V-ATPase was further confirmed by its sensitivity to cold temperature and to the V-ATPase specific inhibitor, concanamycin B, which at 10 nM doubled the t1/2 for vacuole acidification. Thus, we conclude that (1) acidosomes and some DVs ofParamecium have a bona-fide concanamycin B-sensitive and cold-sensitive V-ATPase, (2) the V-ATPase is delivered to the young DVs during acidosome fusion, and (3) the V-ATPase is involved in vacuole acidification. Finally, we have now determined thatParamecium has two immunologically related V-ATPases that are involved in two very different functions, (1) the acidification of phagosomes and (2) fluid segregation in the contractile vacuole complexes.
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