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Windows to cell function and dysfunction: signatures written in the boundary layers

By Peter J.S. Smith, Leon P. Collis and Mark A. Messerli


The medium surrounding cells either in culture or in tissues contains a chemical mix varying with cell state. As solutes move in and out of the cytoplasmic compartment they set up characteristic signatures in the cellular boundary layers. These layers are complex physical and chemical environments the profiles of which reflect cell physiology and provide conduits for intercellular messaging. Here we review some of the most relevant characteristics of the extracellular/intercellular space. Our initial focus is primarily on cultured cells but we extend our consideration to the far more complex environment of tissues, and discuss how chemical signatures in the boundary layer can or may affect cell function. Critical to the entire essay are the methods used, or being developed, to monitor chemical profiles in the boundary layers. We review recent developments in ultramicro electrochemical sensors and tailored optical reporters suitable for the task in hand

Topics: QD, QH301
Year: 2010
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.soton.ac.uk:188743
Provided by: e-Prints Soton

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