Function and spatial distribution of ion channels and transporters in cell migration

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2001 May;280(5):F739-47. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.2001.280.5.F739.


Cell migration plays a central role in many physiological and pathophysiological processes, such as embryogenesis, immune defense, wound healing, or the formation of tumor metastases. Detailed models have been developed that describe cytoskeletal mechanisms of cell migration. However, evidence is emerging that ion channels and transporters also play an important role in cell migration. The purpose of this review is to examine the function and subcellular distribution of ion channels and transporters in cell migration. Topics covered will be a brief overview of cytoskeletal mechanisms of migration, the role of ion channels and transporters involved in cell migration, and ways by which a polarized distribution of ion channels and transporters can be achieved in migrating cells. Moreover, a model is proposed that combines ion transport with cytoskeletal mechanisms of migration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / metabolism*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Ion Channels