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J Biol Chem. 2004 Dec 3;279(49):51193-202. Epub 2004 Sep 15.

The H(+)-pyrophosphatase of Rhodospirillum rubrum is predominantly located in polyphosphate-rich acidocalcisomes.

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Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology, Department of Pathobiology and Center for Zoonoses Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61802, USA.


Acidocalcisomes are acidic, calcium storage compartments with a H(+) pump located in their membrane that have been described in several unicellular eukaryotes, including trypanosomatid and apicomplexan parasites, algae, and slime molds, and have also been found in the bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens. In this work, we report that the H(+)-pyrophosphatase (H(+)-PPase) of Rhodospirillum rubrum, the first enzyme of this type that was identified and thought to be localized only to chromatophore membranes, is predominantly located in acidocalcisomes. The identification of the acidocalcisomes of R. rubrum was carried out by using transmission electron microscopy, x-ray microanalysis, and immunofluorescence microscopy. Purification of acidocalcisomes using iodixanol gradients indicated co-localization of the H(+)-PPase with pyrophosphate (PPi) and short and long chain polyphosphates (polyPs) but a lack of markers of the plasma membrane. polyP was also localized to the acidocalcisomes by using 4',6'-diamino-2-phenylindole staining and identified by using 31P NMR and biochemical methods. Calcium in the acidocalcisomes increased when the bacteria were incubated at high extracellular calcium concentrations. The number of acidocalcisomes and chromatophore membranes as well as the amounts of PPi and polyP increased when bacteria were grown in the light. Taken together, these results suggest that the H(+)-PPase of R. rubrum has two distinct roles depending on its location acting as an intracellular proton pump in acidocalcisomes but in PPi synthesis in the chromatophore membranes.

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