PMID: 2669504Aug 1, 1989Paper

Anisosmotic cell volume regulation: a comparative view

The American Journal of Physiology
M E Chamberlin, Kevin Strange


A variety of organisms and cell types spanning the five taxonomic kingdoms are exposed, either naturally or through experimental means, to osmotic stresses. A common physiological response to these challenges is maintenance of cell volume through changes in the concentration of intracellular inorganic and organic solutes, collectively termed osmolytes. Research on the mechanisms by which the concentration of these solutes is regulated has proceeded along several experimental lines. Extensive studies on osmotically activated ion transport pathways have been carried out in vertebrate cells and tissues. Much of our knowledge on organic osmolytes has come from investigations on invertebrates, bacteria, and protists. The relative simplicity of bacterial genetics has provided a powerful and elegant tool to explore the modifications of gene expression during volume regulation. An implication of this diverse experimental approach is that phylogenetically divergent organisms employ uniquely adapted mechanisms of cell volume regulation. Given the probability that changes in extracellular osmolality were physiological stresses faced by the earliest organisms, it is more likely that cell volume regulation proceeds by highly conserved physi...Continue Reading


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