Endocytic regulation of alkali metal transport proteins in mammals, yeast and plants
The relative concentrations of ions and solutes inside cells are actively maintained by several classes of transport proteins, in many cases against their concentration gradient. These transport processes, which consume a large portion of cellular energy, must be constantly regulated. Many structurally distinct families of channels, carriers, and pumps have been characterized in considerable detail during the past decades and defects in the function of some of these proteins have been linked to a growing list of human diseases. The dynamic regulation of the transport proteins present at the cell surface is vital for both normal cellular function and for the successful adaptation to changing environments. The composition of proteins present at the cell surface is controlled on both the transcriptional and post-translational level. Post-translational regulation involves highly conserved mechanisms of phosphorylation- and ubiquitylation-dependent signal transduction routes used to modify the cohort of receptors and transport proteins present under any given circumstances. In this review, we will summarize what is currently known about one facet of this regulatory process: the endocytic regulation of alkali metal transport proteins. The physiological relevance, major contributors, parallels and missing pieces of the puzzle in mammals, yeast and plants will be discussed.