mAbs specific for calmodulin were used to examine the distribution of calmodulin in vegetative Dictyostelium cells. Indirect immunofluorescence indicated that calmodulin was greatly enriched at the periphery of phase lucent vacuoles. The presence of these vacuoles in newly germinated (non-feeding) as well as growing cells, and the response of the vacuoles to changes in the osmotic environment, identified them as contractile vacuoles, osmoregulatory organelles. No evidence was found for an association of calmodulin with endosomes or lysosomes, nor was calmodulin enriched along cytoskeletal filaments. When membranes from Dictyostelium cells were fractionated on equilibrium sucrose density gradients, calmodulin cofractionated with alkaline phosphatase, a cytochemical marker for contractile vacuole membranes, at a density of 1.156 g/ml. Several high molecular weight calmodulin-binding proteins were enriched in the same region of the gradient. One of the calmodulin-binding polypeptides (molecular mass approximately 150 kD) cross-reacted with an antiserum specific for Acanthamoeba myosin IC. By indirect immunofluorescence, this protein was also enriched on contractile vacuole membranes. These results suggest that a calmodulin-binding unconventional myosin is associated with contractile vacuoles in Dictyostelium; similar proteins in yeast and mammalian cells have been implicated in vesicle movement.

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