The prespore vesicle (PSV) is an organelle which secretes spore coat proteins and gal/galNAc polysaccharides from prespore cells of Dictyostelium. By combining the techniques of protein A-gold immunocytochemistry and ricin-gold affinity cytochemistry we have demonstrated colocalization of the lysosomal enzyme alpha-mannosidase with gal/galNAc polysaccharides in prespore vesicles and the spore coat. To determine the origin of prespore vesicles a series of pulse-chase experiments were performed. Cells were labeled with [35S]methionine or [35S]sulfate at different times during development and allowed to differentiate in the presence of unlabeled methionine or sulfate for various periods of time. The cells were homogenized and intracellular organelles were separated using Percoll density gradient centrifugation. The distribution of [35S]methionine-labeled alpha-mannosidase and [35S]sulfate-labeled glycoproteins in the Percoll gradients was determined. It was found that prespore vesicles contained protein which was previously found in lysosomes. Newly labeled protein also entered these vesicles. The data suggest that developing Dictyostelium cells either restructure preexisting lysosomes into prespore vesicles or transport protein between these two organelles. We propose that secretory granules and lysosomes may have a common biosynthetic origin and may be evolutionarily related.

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