Phosphatidic acid is a pH biosensor. Effector proteins bind PA according to the electrostatic/hydrogen-bond switch mechanism . Electrostatic interactions and hydrogen bonding (green dashed lines) between the primary amines of basic amino acids in the effector and the deprotonated phosphomonoester of PA are shown. A decrease in intracellular pH below the pKa of PA results in increased protonation of its phosphomonoester, which reduces the strength of electrostatic interactions with the effector, resulting in its dissociation from the membrane.
Shin and Loewen BMC Biology 2011 9:85 doi:10.1186/1741-7007-9-85