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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2010 Mar 12;365(1541):775-84. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2009.0179.

Evolution of acidocalcisomes and their role in polyphosphate storage and osmoregulation in eukaryotic microbes.

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Department of Cellular Biology and Center for Tropical and Global Emerging Diseases, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA.


Acidocalcisomes are acidic electron-dense organelles, rich in polyphosphate (poly P) complexed with calcium and other cations. While its matrix contains enzymes related to poly P metabolism, the membrane of the acidocalcisomes has a number of pumps (Ca(2+)-ATPase, V-H(+)-ATPase, H(+)-PPase), exchangers (Na(+)/H(+), Ca(2+)/H(+)), and at least one channel (aquaporin). Acidocalcisomes are present in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes and are an important storage of cations and phosphorus. They also play an important role in osmoregulation and interact with the contractile vacuole complex in a number of eukaryotic microbes. Acidocalcisomes resemble lysosome-related organelles (LRO) from mammalian cells in many of their properties. They share similar morphological characteristics, acidic properties, phosphorus contents and a system for targeting of their membrane proteins through adaptor complex-3 (AP-3). Storage of phosphate and cations may represent the ancestral physiological function of acidocalcisomes, with cation and pH homeostasis and osmoregulatory functions derived following the divergence of prokaryotes and eukaryotes.

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