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Am J Physiol. 1993 Oct;265(4 Pt 1):C1015-29.

Vacuolar-type H(+)-ATPases are functionally expressed in plasma membranes of human tumor cells.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tuscon 85724.


Mammalian cells generally regulate their intracellular pH (pHi) via collaboration between Na(+)-H+ exchanger and HCO3- transport. In addition, a number of normal mammalian cells have been identified that express H(+)-adenosinetriphosphatases (ATPases) in their plasma membranes. Because tumor cells often maintain a high pHi, we hypothesized that they might functionally express H(+)-ATPases in their plasma membranes. In the first phase of the present study, we screened 19 normal and tumorigenic human cell lines for the presence of plasmalemmal H(+)-ATPase activity using bafilomycin A1 to inhibit V-type H(+)-ATPase and Sch-28080 to inhibit P-type H(+)-K(+)-ATPase. Bafilomycin A1 decreased pHi in the six tumor cell lines with the highest resting pHi in the absence of HCO3-. Sch-28080 did not affect pHi in any of the human cells. Simultaneous measurement of pH in the cytoplasm and in the endosomes/lysosomes localized the activity of bafilomycin to the plasma membrane in three cell lines. In the second phase of this study, these three cell lines were shown to recover from NH4(+)-induced acid loads in the absence of Na+. This recovery was inhibited by N-ethylmaleimide, bafilomycin A1, and ATP depletion and was not significantly affected by vanadate, Sch-28080, or hexamethyl amiloride. These results indicate that a vacuolar type H(+)-ATPase is expressed in the plasma membrane of some tumor cells.

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