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J Bioenerg Biomembr. 1999 Feb;31(1):57-65.

Structure and properties of the clathrin-coated vesicle and yeast vacuolar V-ATPases.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02111, USA.


The V-ATPases are a family of ATP-dependent proton pumps responsible for acidification of intracellular compartments in eukaryotic cells. This review focuses on the the V-ATPases from clathrin-coated vesicles and yeast vacuoles. The V-ATPase of clathrin-coated vesicles is a precursor to that found in endosomes and synaptic vesicles, which function in receptor recycling, intracellular membrane traffic, and neurotransmitter uptake. The yeast vacuolar ATPase functions to acidify the central vacuole and to drive various coupled transport processes across the vacuolar membrane. The V-ATPases are composed of two functional domains. The V1 domain is a 570-kDa peripheral complex composed of eight subunits of molecular weight 70-14 kDa (subunits A-H) that is responsible for ATP hydrolysis. The V0 domain is a 260-kDa integral complex composed of five subunits of molecular weight 100-17 kDa (subunits a, d, c, c' and c") that is responsible for proton translocation. Using chemical modification and site-directed mutagenesis, we have begun to identify residues that play a role in ATP hydrolysis and proton transport by the V-ATPases. A central question in the V-ATPase field is the mechanism by which cells regulate vacuolar acidification. Several mechanisms are described that may play a role in controlling vacuolar acidification in vivo. One mechanism involves disulfide bond formation between cysteine residues located at the catalytic nucleotide binding site on the 70-kDa A subunit, leading to reversible inhibition of V-ATPase activity. Other mechanisms include reversible assembly and dissociation of V1 and V0 domains, changes in coupling efficiency of proton transport and ATP hydrolysis, and regulation of the activity of intracellular chloride channels required for vacuolar acidification.

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