Introduction: Molecular genetics of acid sensing and response
Since most biological reactions in human body occur within narrow ranges around neutral environments, any changes in the pH environment have great impacts on a wide variety of functions, including gene expression, protein folding, enzymatic activities, cell proliferation, and cell death. When the pH homeostasis is disrupted and results in tissue acidity, how various cell types sense and respond in their physiology, metabolism, and gene expression play a dramatic role in modulating disease outcomes. Therefore, understanding how various cells sense and react to pH imbalance have broad impact in a wide variety of human diseases, including cancer, stroke, myocardial infarction, diabetes, and renal and infectious diseases. In this book, several experts in the field have highlighted various aspects of the molecular genetics on how mammalian cells sense and respond to acidosis and their implications in the normal physiological adaptations and pathogenesis. These reviews highlight at least three levels of complexity in the acid sensing and response among different cell types and disease settings.