Cell volume regulated transporters of compatible osmolytes

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 1995 Aug;7(4):465-71. doi: 10.1016/0955-0674(95)80002-6.


Virtually all cells respond to hypertonicity by accumulating certain small organic solutes (compatible osmolytes) that, in contrast to intracellular ions, do not perturb macromolecular function. Several important compatible osmolytes are accumulated by coupled transport. Transcription of genes encoding these cotransporters is increased by hypertonicity and a tonicity-responsive enhancer element has been identified. When cells return to an iso-osmotic environment, osmolytes are rapidly lost through a pathway that current evidence indicates may be a volume-sensitive chloride channel.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Transport
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Size
  • Dogs
  • Hypertonic Solutions
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Sodium / metabolism*
  • Water-Electrolyte Balance / physiology*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Hypertonic Solutions
  • Sodium