Physiological carbon dioxide, bicarbonate, and pH sensing
In biological systems, carbon dioxide exists in equilibrium with bicarbonate and protons. The individual components of this equilibrium (i.e., CO₂, HCO₃⁻, and H(+)), which must be sensed to be able to maintain cellular and organismal pH, also function as signals to modulate multiple physiological functions. Yet, the molecular sensors for CO₂/HCO₃⁻/pH remained unknown until recently. Here, we review recent progress in delineating molecular and cellular mechanisms for sensing CO₂, HCO₃⁻, and pH.