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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Golgi as a "Proton Sink" in Cancer.

  • Author(s): Galenkamp, Koen MO;
  • Commisso, Cosimo
  • et al.

Cancer cells exhibit increased glycolytic flux and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) hydrolysis. These processes increase the acidic burden on the cells through the production of lactate and protons. Nonetheless, cancer cells can maintain an alkaline intracellular pH (pHi) relative to untransformed cells, which sets the stage for optimal functioning of glycolytic enzymes, evasion of cell death, and increased proliferation and motility. Upregulation of plasma membrane transporters allows for H+ and lactate efflux; however, recent evidence suggests that the acidification of organelles can contribute to maintenance of an alkaline cytosol in cancer cells by siphoning off protons, thereby supporting tumor growth. The Golgi is such an acidic organelle, with resting pH ranging from 6.0 to 6.7. Here, we posit that the Golgi represents a "proton sink" in cancer and delineate the proton channels involved in Golgi acidification and the ion channels that influence this process. Furthermore, we discuss ion channel regulators that can affect Golgi pH and Golgi-dependent processes that may contribute to pHi homeostasis in cancer.

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