Acidocalcisome-like organelles are found in all kingdoms of life. Many of their functions, such as the accumulation and storage of metal ions, nitrogen and phosphate, the activation of blood clotting and inflammation, depend on the controlled synthesis and turnover of polyphosphate (polyP), a polymer of inorganic phosphate linked by phosphoric anhydride bonds. The exploration of the role of acidocalcisomes in metabolism and physiology requires manipulation of polyP turnover, yet the complete set of proteins responsible for this turnover is unknown. Here, we identify a novel type of polyphosphatase operating in the acidocalcisome-like vacuoles of yeast, Ppn2. Ppn2 belongs to the PPP-superfamily of metallo-phosphatases, is activated by Zn2+ ions and exclusively shows endopolyphosphatase activity. It is sorted to vacuoles via the multivesicular body pathway. Together with Ppn1, Ppn2 constitutes a major fraction of polyphosphatase activity that is necessary to mobilize polyP stores, for example in response to phosphate scarcity. This finding opens the way to manipulating polyP metabolism more profoundly and deciphering its roles in phosphate and energy homeostasis, as well as in signaling.
- Received December 23, 2016.
- Accepted March 13, 2017.
- © 2017. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd