Energy partitioning and plant growth are mediated in part by a type I H+-pumping pyrophosphatase (H+-PPase). A canonical role for this transporter has been demonstrated at the tonoplast where it serves a job-sharing role with V-ATPase in vacuolar acidification. Here, we investigated whether the plant H+-PPase from Arabidopsis also functions in "reverse mode" to synthesize PPi using the transmembrane H+ gradient. Using patch-clamp recordings on Arabidopsis vacuoles, we observed inward currents upon Pi application on the cytosolic side. These currents were strongly reduced in vacuoles from two independent H+-PPase mutant lines (vhp1-1 and fugu5-1) lacking the classical PPi-induced outward currents related to H+ pumping, whereas they were significantly larger in vacuoles with engineered heightened expression of the H+-PPase. Current amplitudes related to reverse-mode H+ transport depended on the membrane potential, cytosolic Pi concentration, and magnitude of the pH gradient across the tonoplast. Of note, experiments on vacuolar membrane-enriched vesicles isolated from yeast expressing the Arabidopsis H+-PPase (AVP1) demonstrated Pi-dependent PPi synthase activity in the presence of a pH gradient. Our work establishes that a plant H+-PPase can operate as a PPi synthase beyond its canonical role in vacuolar acidification and cytosolic PPi scavenging. We propose that the PPi synthase activity of H+-PPase contributes to a cascade of events that energize plant growth.
Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; H+ pumping pyrophosphatase; PPi synthase; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; pH gradient; patch clamp; proton pump; pyrophosphate (PPi); tonoplast; vacuole.
© 2019 Scholz-Starke et al.