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Mol Cell Biol. 1981 Sep;1(9):797-806.

Purification of vacuoles from Neurospora crassa.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of California, Irvine 92717, USA.


The Neurospora crassa vacuole, defined by its content of basic amino acids, polyphosphate, protease, phosphatases, and alpha-mannosidase, was purified to near homogeneity. The procedure depends upon homogenization of snail gut enzyme-digested cells in a buffer osmotically stabilized with 1 M sorbitol, differential centrifugation of the extract, and sucrose density gradient centrifugation of the organellar pellet. Isopycnic centrifugation of vacuoles in 2.25 M sorbitol-Metrizamide density gradients yielded a peak (density, 1.31 g/cm3) of vacuolar markers coincident with 32P-phospholipids, trichloroacetate-insoluble 14C, and trichloroacetate-soluble 14C. A trail of macromolecular markers in the lighter portions of the gradient reflected, at least in part, heterogeneity of the vacuoles. Almost no contamination by mitochondria or glyoxysomes was detected. Vacuoles were very heterogeneous in size as estimated by velocity sedimentation, but most were larger than mitochondria. Variations of the osmotic strength of the medium were found to alter the equilibrium density of vacuole preparations from 1.06 g/cm3 to over 1.3 g/cm3. This explains the great variation in density reported previously for the "vacuole," the "vesicle," and the "protease particle" of N. crassa, all of which appear to be the same entity.

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