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Quantitative measurement of intraorganelle pH in the endosomal-lysosomal pathway in neurons by using ratiometric imaging with pyranine.

By C C Overly, K D Lee, E Berthiaume and P J Hollenbeck


Organelle acidification is an essential element of the endosomal-lysosomal pathway, but our understanding of the mechanisms underlying progression through this pathway has been hindered by the absence of adequate methods for quantifying intraorganelle pH. To address this problem in neurons, we developed a direct quantitative method for accurately determining the pH of endocytic organelles in live cells. In this report, we demonstrate that the ratiometric fluorescent pH indicator 8-hydroxypyrene-1,3,6-trisulfonic acid (HPTS) is the most advantageous available probe for such pH measurements. To measure intraorganelle pH, cells were labeled by endocytic uptake of HPTS, the ratio of fluorescence emission intensities at excitation wavelengths of 450 nm and 405 nm (F450/405) was calculated for each organelle, and ratios were converted to pH values by using standard curves for F450/405 vs. pH. Proper calibration is critical for accurate measurement of pH values: standard curves generated in vitro yielded artifactually low organelle pH values. Calibration was unaffected by the use of culture medium buffered with various buffers or different cell types. By using this technique, we show that both acidic and neutral endocytically derived organelles exist in the axons of sympathetic neurons in different steady-state proportions than in the cell body. Furthermore, we demonstrate that these axonal organelles have a bimodal pH distribution, indicating a rapid acidification step in their maturation that reduces the average pH of a fraction of the organelles by 2 pH units while leaving few organelles of intermediate pH at steady state. Finally, we demonstrate a spatial gradient or organelle pH along axons, with the relative frequency of acidic organelles increasing with proximity to the cell body

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1995
OAI identifier: oai:pubmedcentral.nih.gov:42124
Provided by: PubMed Central
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