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The aquaporins (AQPs) form a family of integral membrane proteins that facilitate the movement of water across biological membrane by osmosis, as well as facilitating the diffusion of small polar solutes. AQPs have been recognised as drug targets for a variety of disorders associated with disrupted water or solute transport, including brain oedema following stroke or trauma, epilepsy, cancer cell migration and tumour angiogenesis, metabolic disorders, and inflammation. Despite this, drug discovery for AQPs has made little progress due to a lack of reproducible high-throughput assays and difficulties with the druggability of AQP proteins. However, recent studies have suggested that targetting the trafficking of AQP proteins to the plasma membrane is a viable alternative drug target to direct inhibition of the water-conducting pore. Here we review the literature on the trafficking of mammalian AQPs with a view to highlighting potential new drug targets for a variety of conditions associated with disrupted water and solute homeostasis.

Original publication




Journal article


Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes

Publication Date