Acidocalcisomes - conserved from bacteria to man

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2005 Mar;3(3):251-61. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro1097.


Recent work has shown that acidocalcisomes, which are electron-dense acidic organelles rich in calcium and polyphosphate, are the only organelles that have been conserved during evolution from prokaryotes to eukaryotes. Acidocalcisomes were first described in trypanosomatids and have been characterized in most detail in these species. Acidocalcisomes have been linked with several functions, including storage of cations and phosphorus, polyphosphate metabolism, calcium homeostasis, maintenance of intracellular pH homeostasis and osmoregulation. Here, we review acidocalcisome ultrastructure, composition and function in different trypanosomatids and other organisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Intracellular Membranes / physiology
  • Ion Pumps / physiology
  • Organelles / physiology*
  • Organelles / ultrastructure
  • Phylogeny
  • Polyphosphates / metabolism*
  • Trypanosomatina / physiology
  • Trypanosomatina / ultrastructure*
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance / physiology


  • Ion Pumps
  • Polyphosphates
  • Calcium