The other functions of the sodium pump

Cell Calcium. 2019 Dec;84:102105. doi: 10.1016/j.ceca.2019.102105. Epub 2019 Nov 2.


Na/K-ATPase (the sodium pump) was discovered in the 1950s as the plasma membrane enzyme that carries out the coupled active transports of Na+ and K+ across the membranes of nearly all eukaryotic cells. It was not until the 1990s when it was shown that besides pumping ions, Na/K-ATPase is also capable of stimulus-induced interactions with neighboring proteins that lead to activations of signal transduction pathways causing cell growth. This article is an attempt to review the progress of the research on these signaling functions of sodium pump during the past 2-3 decades. The covered topics include (a) the controversial digitalis-induced growth activations through the epidermal growth factor receptor and Src kinase in cardiac myocytes and several other cell types; (b) the extensive findings on digitalis-induced growth activations in cardiac myocytes and other cell types through phosphatidylinositol 3-kinases; and (c) a number of interesting but insufficiently studied signaling functions of the sodium pump.

Keywords: Digitalis; Na/K-ATPase; Ouabain; PI3Kinase; Sodium pump; Src.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiomegaly / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / physiology*
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase / genetics
  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase / metabolism*


  • EGFR protein, human
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase