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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 1990 Apr;40(1):77-86.

Elemental composition of polyphosphate-containing vacuoles and cytoplasm of Leishmania major.

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Department of Cell Biology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.


Leishmania major promastigotes contain electron-dense vacuoles. The elemental composition of these vacuoles and of the cytoplasm was measured by electron probe X-ray microanalysis, using rapid cryopreservation techniques to prevent alterations in composition due to diffusion. The electron-dense vacuoles are rich in P, presumably present as polyphosphate (poly P). Mg is present at about 9 times its cytoplasmic level. There is sufficient Mg to largely neutralize most of the negative charge of the Poly P. The electron-dense vacuoles also contain appreciable amounts of Ca and Zn, which are not detectable in the cytoplasm, as well as Na, K, and Cl, the latter two at concentrations below that of the cytoplasm. These results suggest that the vacuolar membranes have at least one cation transport system. Incubation of the promastigotes for 1 h in the absence of phosphate in the presence or absence of glucose did not cause significant changes in the vacuolar contents of P, Mg, or Zn, but changes in K and Cl content were observed in both the electron-dense vacuoles and in the cytoplasm.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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