An immunocytochemical analysis of the vacuolar proton pump in Dictyostelium discoideum

J Cell Sci. 1993 Jul:105 ( Pt 3):849-59. doi: 10.1242/jcs.105.3.849.


Antisera were generated in rabbits against the vacuolar proton pump (V-H(+)-ATPase) purified from Dictyostelium discoideum. The antisera inhibited V-H(+)-ATPase but not F1-ATPase activity and immunoprecipitated and immunoblotted only the polypeptide subunits of the V-H(+)-ATPase from cell homogenates. Immunocytochemical analysis of intact cells and subcellular fractions showed that the predominant immunoreactive organelles were clusters of empty, irregular vacuoles of various sizes and shapes, which corresponded to the acidosomes. The cytoplasmic surfaces of lysosomes, phagosomes and the tubular spongiome of the contractile vacuole also bore the pump antigen. The lumina of multivesicular bodies were often stained intensely; the internalized antigen may have been derived from acidosomes by autophagy. Antibodies against V-H(+)-ATPases from plant and animal cells cross-reacted with the proton pumps of Dictyostelium. Antisera directed against the V-H(+)-ATPase of Dictyostelium decorated a profusion of small vacuoles scattered throughout the cytoplasm of hepatocytes, epithelial cells, macrophages and fibroblasts. The pattern paralleled that of the endocytic and acidic spaces; there was no clear indication of discrete acidosomes in these mammalian cells. We conclude that the V-H(+)-ATPase in Dictyostelium is distributed among diverse endomembrane organelles and is immunologically cross-reactive with the proton pumps on endocytic vacuoles in mammalian cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cross Reactions
  • Dictyostelium / metabolism*
  • Dictyostelium / ultrastructure
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microscopy, Immunoelectron
  • Organelles / metabolism
  • Organelles / ultrastructure
  • Proton Pumps / immunology
  • Proton Pumps / metabolism*
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases / immunology
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases / metabolism
  • Subcellular Fractions / metabolism
  • Vacuoles / metabolism
  • Vacuoles / ultrastructure


  • Proton Pumps
  • Proton-Translocating ATPases