Studies with intact and lysed gastric microsomal vesicles demonstrate that there are two pNPP (p-nitrophenyl phosphate)-and one ATP-hydrolytic sites within the gastric H+, K+-ATPase [(H+ + K+)-transporting ATPase] complex. Whereas the ATPase site is located exclusively on the vesicle exterior, the pNPPase sites are distributed equally on both sides of the bilayer. Competition by ATP for the pNPPase reaction on the vesicle exterior suggests that both ATP and pNPP are hydrolysed at the same catalytic site present at the outside surface of the intact vesicles. However, a biphasic inhibition of the K+-pNPPase (K+-stimulated pNPPase) by ATP in the lysed vesicles suggest the pNPPase site of the vesicle interior to have very low affinity (Ki approximately equal to 1.2 mM) for ATP compared with the vesicle exterior (Ki approximately equal to 0.2 mM). Studies with spermine, which competes with K+ for the K+-pNPPase reaction without inhibiting the H+, K+-ATPase, suggest there are two separate K+ sites for the pNPPase reaction and another distinct K+ site for the ATPase reaction. In contrast with the K+ site for the ATPase, which is located opposite to the catalytic site across the bilayer, both the K+ and the catalytic site for the pNPPase are located on the same side. The data clearly demonstrate that the pNPPase is not a manifestation of the phosphatase step of the total H+, K+-ATPase reaction. The K+-pNPPase associated with the Na+, K+-ATPase also has properties strikingly similar to the gastric K+-pNPPase system, suggesting a resemblance in the basic operating principle of the two ion-transporting enzymes. A unified model has been proposed to explain the present data and many other observations reported in the literature for the ATPase-mediated transport of univalent cations.

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