Scientific article

Physiological roles of voltage-gated proton channels in leukocytes

Published inJournal of physiology, vol. 588, no. Pt 23, p. 4659-4665
Publication date2010

Voltage-gated proton channels are designed to extrude large quantities of cytosolic acid in response to depolarising voltages. The discovery of the Hvcn1 gene and the generation of mice lacking the channel molecule have confirmed several postulated functions of proton channels in leukocytes. In neutrophils and macrophages, proton channels are required for high-level production of superoxide anions by the phagocytic NADPH oxidase, a bactericidal enzyme essential for host defence against infections. In B lymphocytes, proton channels are required for low-level production of superoxide that boosts the production of antibodies. Proton channels sustain the activity of immune cells in several ways. By extruding excess cytosolic acid, proton channels prevent deleterious acidification of the cytosol and at the same time deliver protons required for chemical conversion of the superoxide secreted by membrane oxidases. By moving positive charges across membranes, proton channels limit the depolarisation of the plasma membrane, promoting the electrogenic activity of NADPH oxidases and the entry of calcium ions into cells. Acid extrusion by proton channels is not restricted to leukocytes but also mediates the intracellular alkalinisation required for the activation of spermatozoids. Proton channels are therefore multitalented channels that control male fertility as well as our innate and adaptive immunity.

  • Acid-Base Equilibrium
  • Animals
  • Ion Channel Gating/*physiology
  • Ion Channels/*metabolism
  • Leukocytes/*physiology
Citation (ISO format)
DEMAUREX, Nicolas, CHEMALY, Antoine. Physiological roles of voltage-gated proton channels in leukocytes. In: Journal of physiology, 2010, vol. 588, n° Pt 23, p. 4659–4665. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2010.194225
Main files (1)
ISSN of the journal0022-3751

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