Intracellular Chloride Channels: Determinants of Function in the Endosomal Pathway

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Science's STKE  18 May 2004:
Vol. 2004, Issue 233, pp. re8
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2332004re8

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This STKE review, with three figures, one animation, and 80 references, concerns the possible roles of intracellular chloride (Cl) channels in modulating the function of membrane-bound organelles, such as endosomes and synaptic vesicles. Some of the chloride channels in the ClC family are found in the membranes of various organelles. Cl influx acts to modify the internal pH of these organelles, both by shunting the effects of the proton pump on vesicular membrane potential and possibly through direct effects of Cl on the proton pump. These changes in intralumenal pH may in turn help regulate the traffic of membrane proteins between various subcellular compartments. It is also possible that Cl concentration itself plays a more direct role in regulating these movements. In the case of synaptic vesicles, it is possible that Cl flux could help determine neurotransmitter accumulation—or even bias the specific neurotransmitter accumulated by a particular vesicle type.