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Mol Pharmacol January 1, 2020; 98 (1): 38-48.

5-Hydroxymethyl-Furfural and Structurally Related Compounds Block the Ion Conductance in Human Aquaporin-1 Channels and Slow Cancer Cell Migration and Invasion.

Chow PH , Kourghi M , Pei JV , Nourmohammadi S , Yool AJ .

Aquaporin-1 (AQP1) dual water and ion channels enhance migration and invasion when upregulated in leading edges of certain classes of cancer cells. Work here identifies structurally related furan compounds as novel inhibitors of AQP1 ion channels. 5-Hydroxymethyl-2-furfural (5HMF), a component of natural medicinal honeys, and three structurally related compounds, 5-nitro-2-furoic acid (5NFA), 5-acetoxymethyl-2-furaldehyde (5AMF), and methyl-5-nitro-2-furoate (M5NF), were analyzed for effects on water and ion channel activities of human AQP1 channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Two-electrode voltage clamp showed dose-dependent block of the AQP1 ion current by 5HMF (IC50 0.43 mM), 5NFA (IC50 1.2 mM), and 5AMF (IC50 ∼3 mM) but no inhibition by M5NF. In silico docking predicted the active ligands interacted with glycine 165, located in loop D gating domains surrounding the intracellular vestibule of the tetrameric central pore. Water fluxes through separate intrasubunit pores were unaltered by the furan compounds (at concentrations up to 5 mM). Effects on cell migration, invasion, and cytoskeletal organization in vitro were tested in high-AQP1-expressing cancer lines, colon cancer (HT29) and AQP1-expressing breast cancer (MDA), and low-AQP1-expressing SW480. 5HMF, 5NFA, and 5AMF selectively impaired cell motility in the AQP1-enriched cell lines. In contrast, M5NF immobilized all the cancer lines by disrupting actin cytoskeleton. No reduction in cell viability was observed at doses that were effective in blocking motility. These results define furans as a new class of AQP1 ion channel inhibitors for basic research and potential lead compounds for development of therapeutic agents targeting aquaporin channel activity. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: 5-Hydroxymethyl-2-furfural (5HMF), a component of natural medicinal honeys, blocks the ion conductance but not the water flux through human Aquaporin-1 (AQP1) channels and impairs AQP1-dependent cell migration and invasiveness in cancer cell lines. Analyses of 5HMT and structural analogs demonstrate a structure-activity relationship for furan compounds, supported by in silico docking modeling. This work identifies new low-cost pharmacological antagonists for AQP1 available to researchers internationally. Furans merit consideration as a new class of therapeutic agents for controlling cancer metastasis.

PubMed ID: 32434851
Article link: Mol Pharmacol

Genes referenced: aqp1
GO keywords: actin cytoskeleton [+]

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