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Vacuolar ATPases (V-ATPases), originally characterised as components of endomembranes, have also been implicated in epithelial ion transport, both in vertebrates and in insects. The ATPase is particularly noteworthy in lepidopteran larvae, where it generates large transepithelial potential differences and short-circuit currents across the midgut epithelium. A cDNA library from Manduca sexta larval midguts and Malpighian tubules was screened with a Drosophila melanogaster cDNA encoding the 16-kDa proteolipid subunit of the V-ATPase, and a 1.4-kb cDNA sequenced in its entirety. The sequence contains a long open reading frame, encoding a putative peptide of 156 amino acids (aa) and with an M(r) of 15,967, in close agreement with values previously suggested by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gels of M. sexta midgut proteins. Correspondence of the deduced aa sequence with those of other species, particularly D. melanogaster, was extremely close. Northern blots of M. sexta midgut mRNA at high stringency revealed two transcripts of 1.4 and 1.9 kb, whereas genomic Southern blots suggest that there is only a single copy of the gene in M. sexta. The possibility that members of the 16-kDa gene family might serve multiple roles in transport and membrane communication is discussed.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





355 - 360


Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Base Sequence, Cloning, Molecular, DNA, Gene Expression, Larva, Malpighian Tubules, Molecular Sequence Data, Moths, Poly A, Proteolipids, Proton-Translocating ATPases, RNA, RNA, Messenger, Sequence Homology, Amino Acid