The vacuolar (H(+))-ATPases (V-ATPases) are ATP-dependent proton pumps that acidify intracellular compartments and are also present at the plasma membrane. They function in such processes as membrane traffic, protein degradation, virus and toxin entry, bone resorption, pH homeostasis, and tumor cell invasion. V-ATPases are large multisubunit complexes, composed of an ATP-hydrolytic domain (V1) and a proton translocation domain (V0), and operate by a rotary mechanism. This review focuses on recent insights into their structure and mechanism, the mechanisms that regulate V-ATPase activity (particularly regulated assembly and trafficking), and the role of V-ATPases in processes such as cell signaling and cancer. These developments have highlighted the potential of V-ATPases as a therapeutic target in a variety of human diseases.
Keywords: V-ATPase; acidification; cancer; cell signaling; membrane traffic; proton transport.
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