Ion channels and transporters in lymphocyte function and immunity

Nat Rev Immunol. 2012 Jun 15;12(7):532-47. doi: 10.1038/nri3233.


Lymphocyte function is regulated by a network of ion channels and transporters in the plasma membrane of B and T cells. These proteins modulate the cytoplasmic concentrations of diverse cations, such as calcium, magnesium and zinc ions, which function as second messengers to regulate crucial lymphocyte effector functions, including cytokine production, differentiation and cytotoxicity. The repertoire of ion-conducting proteins includes calcium release-activated calcium (CRAC) channels, P2X receptors, transient receptor potential (TRP) channels, potassium channels, chloride channels and magnesium and zinc transporters. This Review discusses the roles of ion conduction pathways in lymphocyte function and immunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Calcium Signaling
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / chemistry
  • Ion Channels / metabolism*
  • Ion Transport
  • Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Mice
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Immunological
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism


  • Ion Channels