To evaluate the role of the acidic pH of phagosomes on the invasive ability and fate of within host cells, entry and replication of this gram-positive bacterium in a human enterocyte-like cell line (Caco-2) were investigated by a combination of biochemical and ultrastructural approaches. The effects of inhibitors of vacuolar acidification - the lipophilic weak base ammonium chloride, the carboxylic ionophore monensin and the vacuolar proton ATPase inhibitor bafilomycin A - on the bacterial invasion pathway were analysed. These agents, which raise the intracellular vesicle acidic pH of living cells by different mechanisms, affected replication in Caco-2 cells. Bacteria internalised by bafilomycin-treated cells were unable to escape from phagosomes, as demonstrated by electronmicroscopy. The results provide evidence that low pH is required for efficient intracellular growth of


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