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Am J Physiol. 1997 Sep;273(3 Pt 1):C755-89.

Volume expansion-sensing outward-rectifier Cl- channel: fresh start to the molecular identity and volume sensor.

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1
Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, National Institute for Physiological Sciences, Okazaki, Japan.

Abstract

The maintenance of a constant volume in the face of extracellular and intracellular osmotic perturbation is essential for the normal function and survival of animal cells. Osmotically swollen cells restore their volume, exhibiting a regulatory volume decrease by releasing intracellular K+, Cl-, organic solutes, and obligated water. In many cell types, the volume regulatory effluxes of Cl- and some organic osmolytes are known to be induced by swelling-induced activation of anion channels that are characterized by their moderate outward rectification, cytosolic ATP dependency, and intermediate unitary conductance (10-100 pS). Recently, simultaneous measurements of cell size by light microscopy and whole cell Cl- current have shown that the Cl- current density is proportionally increased with an increase in the outer surface area, which is mainly achieved through unfolding of membrane invaginations by volume expansion. Thus this anion channel can somehow sense volume expansion and can be called the volume expansion-sensing outwardly rectifying (VSOR) anion channel. Its molecular identity and activation mechanism are yet to be elucidated. Three cloned proteins, ClC-2, P-glycoprotein, and pIcln, have been proposed as candidates for the VSOR anion channel. The unitary conductance, voltage dependency, anion selectivity, pH dependency, and pharmacology of the VSOR anion channel are distinct from the ClC-2 Cl- channel, which is also known to be sensitive to volume changes. Recent patch-clamp studies in combination with molecular biological techniques have shown that P-glycoprotein is not itself the channel protein but is a regulator of its volume sensitivity. Although there is still debate about another candidate protein, pIcln, the most recent study has suggested that this is likely to be a regulator of some other distinct Cl- channel. Identification of the VSOR anion channel protein per se, its volume-sensing mechanism, and its accessory/regulatory proteins at the molecular level is currently a subject of utmost physiological importance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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