Cell Biology

Intracellular pH and Lipid Metabolism

Science Signaling  31 Aug 2010:
Vol. 3, Issue 137, pp. ec268
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.3137ec268

Intracellular pH regulates metabolism by poorly understood mechanisms, but biosensors are likely to be important in this process. Young et al. took a systems biology approach in yeast to identify in excess of 200 genes that regulate phospholipid metabolism. They found that the signaling lipid phosphatidic acid appeared to act as a cytosolic biosensor via the pH-dependent binding of protein effectors to phosphatidic acid. This pH-dependent mechanism directly affects gene expression and is involved in a pathway in which nutrient availability regulates phospholipid metabolism to control production of membranes.

B. P. Young, J. J. H. Shin, R. Orij, J. T. Chao, S. C. Li, X. L. Guan, A. Khong, E. Jan, M. R. Wenk, W. A. Prinz, G. J. Smits, C. J. R. Loewen, Phosphatidic acid is a pH biosensor that links membrane biogenesis to metabolism. Science 329, 1085–1088 (2010). [Abstract] [Full Text]