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Putting the pH into phosphatidic acid signaling

John JH Shin and Christopher JR Loewen*

Author Affiliations

Department of Cellular and Physiological Sciences, Life Sciences Institute, University of British Columbia, 2350 Health Sciences Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6T 1Z3

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BMC Biology 2011, 9:85  doi:10.1186/1741-7007-9-85

Published: 2 December 2011

Abstract

The lipid phosphatidic acid (PA) has important roles in cell signaling and metabolic regulation in all organisms. New evidence indicates that PA also has an unprecedented role as a pH biosensor, coupling changes in pH to intracellular signaling pathways. pH sensing is a property of the phosphomonoester headgroup of PA. A number of other potent signaling lipids also contain headgroups with phosphomonoesters, implying that pH sensing by lipids may be widespread in biology.