Terry Machen
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  [Minnie Wu, Michael Grabe, Stephen Adams, Roger Tsien, Hsiao-Ping.Moore and Terry Machen (2001). Mechanisms of pH regulation in the regulated secretory pathway. J. Biol. Chem. 276, 33027-33035.

A precise pH gradient between organelles of the regulated secretory pathway is required for sorting and processing of prohormones. We studied pH regulation in live endocrine cells by targeting biotin-based pH indicators to cellular organelles expressing avidin-chimera proteins. In AtT-20 cells, we found that steady-state pH decreased from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) (pH(ER) = 7.4 +/- 0.2, mean +/- S.D.) to Golgi (pH(G) = 6.2 +/- 0.4) to mature secretory granules (MSGs) (pH(MSG) = 5.5 +/- 0.4). Golgi and MSGs required active H(+) v-ATPases for acidification. ER, Golgi, and MSG steady-state pH values were also dependent upon the different H(+) leak rates across each membrane. However, neither steady-state pH(MSG) nor rates of passive H(+) leak were affected by Cl(-)-free solutions or valinomycin, indicating that MSG membrane potential was small and not a determinant of pH(MSG). Therefore, our data do not support earlier suggestions that organelle acidification is primarily regulated by Cl(-) conductances. Measurements of H(+) leak rates, buffer capacities, and estimates of surface areas and volumes of these organelles were applied to a mathematical model to determine the H(+) permeability (P(H+)) of each organelle membrane. We found that P(H+) decreased progressively from ER to Golgi to MSGs, and proper acidification of Golgi and MSGs required gradual decreases in P(H+) and successive increases in the active H(+) pump density.