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Eur J Cell Biol. 1996 Apr;69(4):343-50.

Inhibition of the vacuolar H(+)-ATPase with bafilomycin reduces delivery of internalized molecules from mature multivesicular endosomes to lysosomes in HEp-2 cells.

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Department of Medical Anatomy, Panum Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.


In the human carcinoma cell line HEp-2, endosomes are multivesicular bodies (MVBs) which gradually mature and eventually fuse with other mature endosomes and/or with preexisting lysosomes. Selective inhibition of the vacuolar H(+)-ATPase with bafilomycin A1 (Baf) did not influence endocytic uptake and recycling of the protein toxin ricin. Moreover, quantification of immunogold labeling on ultracryosections revealed that the frequency by which MVBs containing internalized cationized gold (Cat.Au) also labeled for the cation-independent mannose-phosphate receptor (MPR) was the same with and without Baf, suggesting that formation and maturation of MVBs were unchanged in the presence of Baf. However, degradation of ricin was strongly reduced by bafilomycin, and this reduction was not only due to increased pH in lysosomes. Thus, quantitative lmmunogold labeling showed that the Baf-induced alkalinization reduced the transfer of internalized Cat.Au to lysosomes, as defined by their content of human lysosome-associated membrane protein 1 (h-lamp-1) and cathepsin D. Accordingly, although low vacuolar pH does not seem to be required for transport to MPR-containing endosomes, it seems to be important for a late fusion step along the endocytic pathway.

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