Acid-base homeostasis is essential for life. The macromolecules upon which living organisms depend are sensitive to pH changes, and physiological systems use the equilibrium between carbon dioxide, bicarbonate, and protons to buffer their pH. Biological processes and environmental insults are constantly challenging an organism's pH; therefore, to maintain a consistent and proper pH, organisms need sensors that measure pH and that elicit appropriate responses. Mammals use multiple sensors for measuring both intracellular and extracellular pH, and although some mammalian pH sensors directly measure protons, it has recently become apparent that many pH-sensing systems measure pH via bicarbonate-sensing soluble adenylyl cyclase.
Keywords: acid-sensing ion channels; bicarbonate; pH sensing; proton-sensing GPCRs; soluble adenylyl cyclase.