Current Methods to Unravel the Functional Properties of Lysosomal Ion Channels and Transporters
A distinct set of channels and transporters regulates the ion fluxes across the lysosomal membrane. Malfunctioning of these transport proteins and the resulting ionic imbalance is involved in various human diseases, such as lysosomal storage disorders, cancer, as well as metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases. As a consequence, these proteins have stimulated strong interest for their suitability as possible drug targets. A detailed functional characterization of many lysosomal channels and transporters is lacking, mainly due to technical difficulties in applying the standard patch-clamp technique to these small intracellular compartments. In this review, we focus on current methods used to unravel the functional properties of lysosomal ion channels and transporters, stressing their advantages and disadvantages and evaluating their fields of applicability.