Osmosensing and signaling in the regulation of mammalian cell function

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Volume changes of mammalian cells as induced by either anisoosmolarity or under isoosmotic conditions by hormones, substrates and oxidative stress critically contribute to the regulation of metabolism, gene expression and the susceptibility to stress. Osmosensing (i.e. the registration of cell volume) triggers signal transduction pathways towards effector sites (osmosignaling), which link alterations of cell volume to a functional outcome. This minireview summarizes recent progress in the understanding of how osmosensing and osmosignaling integrate into the overall context of growth factor signaling and the execution of apoptotic programs.

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