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The collection of vacuolar protein sorting mutants (vps mutants) in Saccharomyces cerevisiae comprises of 41 complementation groups. The vacuoles in these mutant strains were examined using immunofluorescence microscopy. Most of the vps mutants were found to possess vacuolar morphologies that differed significantly from wild-type vacuoles. Furthermore, mutants representing independent vps complementation groups were found to share aberrant morphological features. Six distinct classes of vacuolar morphology were observed. Mutants from eight vps complementation groups were defective both for vacuolar segregation from mother cells into developing buds and for acidification of the vacuole. Another group of mutants, represented by 13 complementation groups, accumulated a novel organelle distinct from the vacuole that contained a late-Golgi protein, active vacuolar H(+)-ATPase complex, and soluble vacuolar hydrolases. We suggest that this organelle may represent an exaggerated endosome-like compartment. None of the vps mutants appeared to mislocalize significant amounts of the vacuolar membrane protein alkaline phosphatase. Quantitative immunoprecipitations of the soluble vacuolar hydrolase carboxypeptidase Y (CPY) were performed to determine the extent of the sorting defect in each vps mutant. A good correlation between morphological phenotype and the extent of the CPY sorting defect was observed.