Acanthamoeba releases lysosomal hydrolases continuously into the culture medium. This release is specific for lysosomal hydrolases, but not other cellular proteins, and is energy dependent. The secreted hydrolases can be separated into two groups on the basis of their secretion kinetics: one is secreted at approximately 15% of the cellular activity per hour and the other at approximately 5%. Intracellularly the lysosomal hydrolases are restricted almost exclusively to secondary lysosomes where the hydrolases demonstrate a differential pH-dependent binding to membrane. Hydrolase secretion is not the result of secondary lysosomes' fusing with the plasma membrane since soluble and particulate lysosomal contents are not released at the same rate. Together the data suggest that the secreted hydrolases are trapped in shuttle vesicles that cycle membrane from secondary lysosomes to the cell surface. The inner membrane and content of these vesicles undergo a marked pH shift when, following fragmentation from lysosomes, these vesicles fuse with plasma membrane. This rapid pH shift and the differential pH-dependent membrane binding of hydrolases appear to account for the heterogeneous hydrolase secretion kinetics.

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