big lizards to astrocytomas
initial research is seemingly unrelated to cancer: a protein responsible
for a process called the sodium-proton exchange (Na+/H+) exchange.
The journey from this enzyme to astrocytomas is steeped in serendipity.
a professor and chair of the Department of Human Physiology at UC
Davis, has long been interested in how cells regulate their volume
- or water content - and their pH, a measurement of acidity versus
volume is "the defining characteristic of a cell - it's like
a fingerprint for a particular cell type," says Cala.
if you osmotically shrink a cell, it is able to regulate its volume
back to normal levels. It does something to return to normal volume
by bringing solute (salt) and water into the cell across the membrane."
identified an enzyme that transports sodium ions into the cell in
exchange for extracellular hydrogen ions (protons) in a one-for-one
exchange, "like a revolving door," he says.
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