Endosomes lower their internal pH by an ATP-driven proton pump, which is critical to dissociation of many receptor-ligand complexes, the first step in the intracellular sorting of internalized receptors and ligands. Endosomes are known to exhibit n great range of pH values that can vary between 5.0 and 7.0 within a single cell although the factors that regulate endosomal pH remain uncertain. To evaluate the morphological and topological differences of endosomes in the different stages, confocal microscopy was used. The early endosomes labeled with fluorescein isothiocyanate-dextran for 10 min at 37℃ were identifiable at the peripheral and tubule-vesicular endosome compartment. In contrasat, the late endosomes formed by 10 min pulse and 20 min trace were located deeper in the cytoplasm and showed more vesicular features than early endosomes. For the purpose of determining whether ATP-dependent acidification was heterogeneous and whether the differences in acidification were attributed to differences in the activity of Na+-K+-ATPase and/or Cl- channel, endocytic compartments were fractionated into subpopulation using percoll gradient and measured ATP-dependent acidification. While all fractions exhibited ATP-dependent acidification activity, both the initial rate of acidification and extent of proton translocation were lower in early endosomes and gradually increased in late endosomes. Phosphorylation by PKA and ATP enhanced ATP-dependent acidification in both early and late endosomes, hut there was no difference in the degree of enhancement by phosphorylation between two subpopulations. When ATP-dependent acidification was determined in the presence or absence of vanadate (Na3VO3) or ouabain, only early endosomes exhibited the vanadate or ouabain dependent stimulation of acidification activity, suggesting the inhibition of Na+-K+-ATPase. Therefore, it seems probable that the inhibition of early endosome acidification by Na+-K+-ATPase observed in vitro at least in part plays a physiological role in controlling the acidification of early endosomes in vivo.