The yeast vacuolar proton-translocating ATPase was isolated by two different methods. A previously reported purification of the enzyme (Uchida, E., Ohsumi, Y., and Anraku, Y. (1985) J. Biol. Chem. 260, 1090-1095) was repeated. This procedure consisted of isolation of vacuoles, solubilization with the zwitterionic detergent ZW3-14, and glycerol gradient centrifugation of the solubilized vacuoles. The fraction with the highest specific activity (11 mumol of ATP hydrolyzed mg-1 min-1) included eight polypeptides of apparent molecular masses of 100, 69, 60, 42, 36, 32, 27, and 17 kDa, suggesting that the enzyme may be more complex than the three-subunit composition proposed from the original purification. The 69-kDa polypeptide was recognized by antisera against the catalytic subunits of two other vacuolar ATPases and labeled with the ATP analog 7-chloro-4-nitrobenzo-2-oxa-1,3-diazole, indicating that it contains all or part of the catalytic site. A monoclonal antibody was prepared against this subunit. Under nondenaturing conditions, the antibody immunoprecipitated eight polypeptides, of the same molecular masses as those seen in the glycerol gradient fraction, from solubilized vacuolar vesicles. All eight of these polypeptides are therefore good candidates for being genuine subunits of the enzyme. The structure and function of the yeast vacuolar H+-ATPase were further characterized by examining the inhibition of ATPase activity by KNO3. In the presence of 5 mM MgATP, 100 mM KNO3 inhibited 71% of the ATPase activity of vacuolar vesicles, and the 69- and 60-kDa subunits (and possibly the 42-kDa subunit) were removed from the vacuolar membrane to a similar extent. At concentrations of less than 200 mM KNO3, the stripping of the ATPase subunits and the inhibition of ATPase activity were dependent on the presence of MgATP, suggesting that this is a conformation-specific disassembly of the enzyme. The yeast vacuolar H+-ATPase is a multisubunit enzyme, consisting of a combination of peripheral and integral membrane subunits. Its structure and subunit composition are very similar to other vacuolar ATPase, and it shares some characteristics with the F1F0-ATPases.
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