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Neurochem Res. 2004 Jan;29(1):27-63.

Regulation of the cellular content of the organic osmolyte taurine in mammalian cells.

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The August Krogh Institute, Biochemical Department, Universitetsparken 13, DK-2100, Copenhagen O, Denmark.


Change in the intracellular concentration of osmolytes or the extracellular tonicity results in a rapid transmembrane water flow in mammalian cells until intracellular and extracellular tonicities are equilibrated. Most cells respond to the osmotic cell swelling by activation of volume-sensitive flux pathways for ions and organic osmolytes to restore their original cell volume. Taurine is an important organic osmolyte in mammalian cells, and taurine release via a volume-sensitive taurine efflux pathway is increased and the active taurine uptake via the taurine specific taurine transporter TauT decreased following osmotic cell swelling. The cellular signaling cascades, the second messengers profile, the activation of specific transporters, and the subsequent time course for the readjustment of the cellular content of osmolytes and volume vary from cell type to cell type. Using Ehrlich ascites tumor cells, NIH3T3 mouse fibroblasts and HeLa cells as biological systems, it is revealed that phospholipase A2-mediated mobilization of arachidonic acid from phospholipids and subsequent oxidation of the fatty acid via lipoxygenase systems to potent eicosanoids are essential elements in the signaling cascade that is activated by cell swelling and leads to release of osmolytes. The cellular signaling cascade and the activity of the volume-sensitive taurine efflux pathway are modulated by elements of the cytoskeleton, protein tyrosine kinases/phosphatases, GTP-binding proteins, Ca2+/calmodulin, and reactive oxygen species and nucleotides. Serine/threonine phosphorylation of the active taurine uptake system TauT or a putative regulator, as well as change in the membrane potential, are important elements in the regulation of TauT activity. A model describing the cellular sequence, which is activated by cell swelling and leads to activation of the volume-sensitive efflux pathway, is presented at the end of the review.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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