Vacuolar-type proton ATPase as regulator of membrane dynamics in multicellular organisms

J Bioenerg Biomembr. 2008 Feb;40(1):53-7. doi: 10.1007/s10863-008-9128-z. Epub 2008 Jan 24.


Acidification inside membrane compartments is a common feature of all eukaryotic cells. The acidic milieu is involved in many physiological processes including secretion, protein processing, and others. However, its cellular relevance has not been well established beyond the results of in vitro studies involving cultured cell systems. In the last decade, human and mouse genetics have revealed that the acidification machinery is implicated in multiple pathophysiological disorders, and thus our understanding of physiological consequences of the defective acidification in multicellular organisms has improved. In invertebrates including Drosophila and nematodes, mutations of V-ATPase were found to lead the development of rather unexpected phenotypes. Studies have suggested that V-ATPase may be involved in membrane fusion and vesicle formation, important processes for membrane trafficking, and have further implied its involvement in cell-cell fusion. This rather novel idea arose from the phenotypes associated with genetic disorders involving V-ATPase genes in various genetic model systems. In this article, we focus and overview the non-classical, beyond proton-pumping function of the vacuolar-type ATPase in exo/endocytic systems.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / enzymology*
  • Cell Membrane / genetics
  • Drosophila
  • Endocytosis / physiology*
  • Eukaryotic Cells / enzymology*
  • Exocytosis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Fusion / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mutation
  • Nematoda
  • Vacuolar Proton-Translocating ATPases / genetics
  • Vacuolar Proton-Translocating ATPases / metabolism*


  • Vacuolar Proton-Translocating ATPases