The vacuolar H(+)-ATPase is a multisubunit protein consisting of a peripheral catalytic domain (V(1)) that binds and hydrolyzes adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and provides energy to pump H(+) through the transmembrane domain (V(0)) against a large gradient. This proton-translocating vacuolar H(+)-ATPase is present in both intracellular compartments and the plasma membrane of eukaryotic cells. Mutations in genes encoding kidney intercalated cell-specific V(0) a4
and V(1) B1 subunits of the vacuolar H(+)-ATPase cause the syndrome of distal tubular renal acidosis. This review focuses on the function, regulation, and the role of vacuolar H(+)-ATPases in renal physiology. The localization of vacuolar H(+)-ATPases in the kidney, and their role in intracellular pH (pHi) regulation, transepithelial proton transport, and acid-base homeostasis are discussed.