To date, a wide variety of model systems and techniques are available to study osmosensing and osmosignaling in intestinal epithelial cells. However, despite many years of intensive research by multiple groups, important questions, such as the identity of the volume sensor, VRAC, and the transporter/channel involved in organic osmolyte release, remain to be resolved. In addition, our present knowledge about the processes linking the putative osmosensor to its effectors is rather limited. Perhaps newly emerging technologies, such as gene knockdown with small interfering RNAs (see Eckstein, 2005) in either cells or intact animals, may help in elucidating these questions.
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