Publications (1)0 Total impact
ABSTRACT: Cellular energy in the form of ATP can be produced through oxidative phosphorylation and through glycolysis. Since oxidative phosphorylation requires oxygen and generates ATP more efficiently than glycolysis, it has been assumed for many years that the presence or absence of oxygen determines that cells generate energy through oxidative phosphorylation or through glycolysis. Although cells must activate glycolysis in the absence of oxygen to produce ATP, it is now accepted that they can activate both glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation in the presence of oxygen. In fact, normal proliferating cells and tumor cells are known to have a high glycolytic activity in the presence of adequate oxygen levels, a phenomenon known as aerobic glycolysis or the Warburg effect. Recent observations have demonstrated that the activation of aerobic glycolysis plays a major role in carcinogenesis and tumor growth. Understanding the mechanisms involved in the metabolic switch between oxidative phosphorylation and aerobic glycolysis may therefore be important for the development of potential preventive and therapeutic interventions. In this article, we discuss the role of the intracellular pH in the metabolic switch between oxidative phosphorylation and aerobic glycolysis. We propose that, in the presence of adequate oxygen levels, the intracellular pH may play a key role in determining the way cells obtain energy, an alkaline pH driving aerobic glycolysis and an acidic pH driving oxidative phosphorylation.