Mechano- and pH-sensing convergence on Ca2+-mobilising proteins - A recipe for cancer?
Alterations in the (bio)chemical and physical microenvironment of cells accompany and often promote disease formation and progression. This is particularly well established for solid cancers, which are typically stiffer than the healthy tissue in which they arise, and often display profound acidification of their interstitial fluid. Cell surface receptors can sense changes in the mechanical and (bio)chemical properties of the surrounding extracellular matrix and fluid, and signalling through these receptors is thought to play a key role in disease development and advancement. This review will look at ion channels and G protein coupled receptors that are activated by mechanical cues and extracellular acidosis, and stimulation of which results in increases in intracellular Ca2+ concentrations. Cellular Ca2+ levels are dysregulated in cancer as well as cancer-associated cells, and mechano- and proton-sensing proteins likely contribute to these aberrant intracellular Ca2+ signals, making them attractive targets for therapeutic intervention.