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Biochem J. 1999 Jun 15;340 ( Pt 3):759-66.

Presence of a vacuolar H+-pyrophosphatase in promastigotes of Leishmania donovani and its localization to a different compartment from the vacuolar H+-ATPase.

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Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology, Department of Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2001 South Lincoln Avenue, Urbana, IL 61802, USA.


Inorganic pyrophosphate promoted the acidification of an intracellular compartment in permeabilized promastigotes of Leishmania donovani, as measured by Acridine Orange uptake. The proton gradient generated by pyrophosphate was collapsed by addition of nigericin or NH4Cl. Pyrophosphate-driven proton translocation was stimulated by potassium ions, and inhibited by NaF, the pyrophosphate analogues imidodiphosphate and aminomethylenediphosphonate (AMDP), dicyclohexylcarbodiimide, and the thiol reagents p-hydroxymercuribenzoate and N-ethylmaleimide, all at concentrations similar to those that inhibit the plant vacuolar proton-pumping pyrophosphatase (H+-PPase). The proton translocation activity had a pH optimum in the range 7.0-7.5, and was unaffected by bafilomycin A1 (40 nM), concanamycin A (5 nM), sodium o-vanadate (500 microM) and KNO3 (200 mM). AMDP-sensitive pyrophosphate hydrolysis was also detected in promastigotes, and potassium ions also stimulated this activity. Sodium ions disrupted pH gradients established in the presence of ATP but not in the presence of pyrophosphate, and sequential addition of ATP and pyrophosphate resulted in partially additive Acridine Orange accumulation, suggesting that the vacuolar H+-PPase is in a different intracellular compartment from the vacuolar H+-ATPase and Na+/H+ exchanger of L. donovani promastigotes. Separation of promastigote extracts on Percoll gradients yielded a dense fraction that contained H+-PPase activity but lacked ATPase activity and markers for mitochondria, glycosomes and lysosomes. The organelles in this fraction appeared by electron microscopy to consist of electron-dense vacuoles. In summary, these results indicate that, in contrast to plant vacuoles, vacuolar H+-PPase and vacuolar ATPase activities are present in different compartments in L. donovani promastigotes.

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