Editors' ChoiceCell Biology

Membrane potential regulates growth

Sci. Signal.  25 Aug 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 391, pp. ec237
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aad2811

Changes in electrical potential across the plasma membrane can affect cell growth. Zhou et al. discovered that membrane potential influenced the organization of phospholipids in the membrane of cultured mammalian cells and neurons in intact flies (see the Perspective by Accardi). This in turn regulated localization and activity of the small guanine nucleotide binding protein K-Ras, an important regulator of cell proliferation. The cell membrane may thus function analogously to a field-effect transistor by adjusting the strength of mitogenic signaling.

Y. Zhou, C.-O. Wong, K.-j. Cho, D. van der Hoeven, H. Liang, D. P. Thakur, J. Luo, M. Babic, K. E. Zinsmaier, M. X. Zhu, H. Hu, K. Venkatachalam, J. F. Hancock, Membrane potential modulates plasma membrane phospholipid dynamics and K-Ras signaling. Science 349, 873–876 (2015). [Abstract] [Full Text]

A. Accardi, Lipids link ion channels and cancer. Science 349, 789–790 (2015). [Summary][Full Text]