A method has been developed to deliver an idoinating system into the confines of the phagolysosome, allowing us to study the nature of the phagolysosomal membrane. Lactoperoxidase (LPO) is covalently coupled to carboxylated latex spheres (LPO-latex) in a stable, enzymatically active form. The addition of LPO-latex to cultured macrophages leads to their rapid attachment, ingestion, and enclosure in a plasma membrane-derived phagocytic vacuole. These organelles rapidly fuse with preexisting lysosomes and are converted to phagolysosomes (PL) that demonstrates both acid phosphatase and lactoperoxidase activities. The exposure of LPO-latex containing cells to 125I- and an extracellular peroxide-generating system, glucose oxidase-glucose, at 4 degrees C leads to incorporation of label into TCA-precipitable material. The incorporated cel-associated label was present as monoiodotyrosine, and negligible amounts were found in lipids. Cell viability remained > 99%. Autoradiography at both the light and EM level revealed that > 97% of the cells were labeled, and quantitative analysis demonstrated the localization of grains to LPO-latex containing PL. PL were separated on sucrose gradients, and their radiolabel was confined almost exclusively to the membrane rather than soluble contents. SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoretic analysis of the peptides iodinated from within PL demonstrated at least 24 species with molecular weights ranging from 12,000 to 250,000. A very similar group of proteins was identified on the plasma membrane (PM) after surface iodination, and on latex phagosomes derived from iodinated PM. No novel proteins were detected in PL, either immediately after phagosome-lysosome fusion or after 1 h of intracytoplasmic residence. We conclude that the membrane proteins accessible to LPO-catalyzed iodination on the luminal surface of the PL and on the external face of the PM are similar, if not identical.

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