Cellular function and control of volume-regulated anion channels

Cell Biochem Biophys. 2001;35(3):263-74. doi: 10.1385/CBB:35:3:263.


Restoration of cell volume after cell swelling in mammalian cells is achieved by the loss of solutes (K+, Cl-, and organic osmolytes) and the subsequent osmotically driven efflux of water. This process is generally known as regulatory volume decrease (RVD). One pathway for the swelling induced loss of Cl- (and also organic osmolytes) during RVD is the volume-regulated anion channel (VRAC). In this review, we discuss the physiological role and cellular control of VRAC. We will first highlight evidence that VRAC is more than a volume regulator and that it participates in other fundamental cellular processes such as cell proliferation and apoptosis. The second part concentrates on the Rho/Rho kinase/myosin phosphorylation cascade and on compartmentalization in caveolae as modulators of the signal transduction cascade that controls VRAC gating in vascular endothelial cells.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anions*
  • Apoptosis
  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Biophysics
  • Caveolin 1
  • Caveolins / metabolism
  • Cell Division
  • Chlorine / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / cytology
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / chemistry*
  • Membrane Microdomains / metabolism
  • Myosins / metabolism
  • Phosphorylation
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tyrosine / metabolism
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism


  • Anions
  • Caveolin 1
  • Caveolins
  • Ion Channels
  • Tyrosine
  • Chlorine
  • Myosins
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins