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Determination of the pH of the Cryptococcus neoformans vacuole

Determination of the pH of the Cryptococcus neoformans vacuole

Medical Mycology 40(3): 329-332

ISSN/ISBN: 1369-3786

PMID: 12146766

DOI: 10.1080/mmy.40.3.329.332

We have previously demonstrated the antifungal activity of the weak bases chloroquine and quinacrine against Cryptococcus neoformans. Quinacrine, being fluorescent, was seen to be concentrated within a complex vacuolar structure within the cryptococcal cell. Here we determined the pH of this compartment using the pH-sensitive fluorescent dye, 5-(and 6-) carboxy-2',7'-dichlorofluorescein diacetate (carboxy-DCFDA). Carboxy-DCFDA was concentrated within the cryptococcal vacuole, giving a pattern of fluorescence similar to that previously observed with quinacrine. For each experiment, a standard curve of fluorescence ratio against pH was generated using buffers of defined pH containing a mixture of ionophores and inhibitors to equilibrate vacuolar pH with that of the medium. The pH of the cryptococcal vacuole of five strains was calculated to range from 5.3 to 5.9 with a mean of 5.6. This acidic pH is consistent with a model in which weak bases such as chloroquine and quinacrine are accumulated, by ion trapping within the fungal vacuole. Antifungal activity may result from the consequent disruption of pH-dependent processes as well as effects on other as yet undefined fungal targets.

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Accession: 003707202

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