Regulation of phagosomal acidification. Differential targeting of Na +/H + exchangers, Na +/K +-ATPases, and vacuolar-type H +-ATPases

David J. Hackam, Ori D. Rotstein, Wei Jian Zhang, Nicolas Demaurex, Michael Woodside, Olivia Tsai, Sergio Grinstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vacuolar-type (V) ATPases are thought to be the main determinant of phagosomal acidification. In phagosomes containing mycobacteria, which ostensibly impair the delivery of V-ATPases to the phagosomal membrane, the pH would be expected to be near neutral. This prediction was tested by microfluorescence ratio imaging using macrophages from mice susceptible to mycobacterial infection. Although less acidic than their counterparts containing dead bacteria, phagosomes containing live Mycobacteria bovis were nearly 1 pH unit more acidic than the cytosol, suggesting the existence of alternate H + transport mechanisms. We therefore investigated whether Na +/H + exchange (NHE) contributes to phagosomal acidification. Immunoblotting, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, and pharmacological studies indicated that NHE1 is the predominant isoform of the exchanger in macrophages. Fractionation revealed that NHE1 is incorporated into the phagosomal membrane, and measurements of pH indicated that it is functional in this location. Nevertheless, acidification of the lumen of phagosomes containing either latex beads or live M. bovis was insensitive to (3-methylsulfonyl-4-piperidinobenzoyl)-guanidine methanesulfonate, a potent inhibitor of NHE1. This may have been due to the absence of an appropriate lumen to cytosol Na + gradient, because the phagosomal membrane was found to be devoid of Na +/K + pumps. Unexpectedly, the acidification of M. bovis phagosomes was fully reversed by specific inhibitors of the vacuolar H +ATPase, suggesting that ATPases are present only transiently or in reduced quantities in the phagosomal membrane. Alternatively, acid equivalents accumulated in endosomes by V-ATPases may be delivered to the mycobacterial phagosome by carrier vesicles devoid of ATPases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29810-29820
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number47
StatePublished - Nov 21 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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