Potassium channels (KCh) are a diverse group of membrane proteins that participate in the control of the membrane potential. More than eighty different KCh genes have been identified, which are expressed in virtually all living cells. In addition to nerve and cardiac action potentials, these proteins are involved in a number of physiological processes, including cell volume regulation, apoptosis, immunomodulation and differentiation. Furthermore, many KCh have been reported to play a role in proliferation and cell cycle progression in mammalian cells, and an important number of studies report the involvement of KCh in cancer progression. The voltagedependent potassium (Kv) channels, in turn, form the largest family of human KCh, which comprises about 40 genes. Because Kv1.3 and Kv1.5 channels modulate proliferation of different mammalian cells, these proteins have been analyzed in a number of tumors and cancer cells. In most cancers, the expression patterns of Kv1.3 and Kv1.5 are remodeled, and in some cases, a correlation has been established between protein abundance and grade of tumor malignancy. The list of cancers evaluated is constantly growing, indicating that these proteins may be future targets for treatment. The aim of this review is to provide an updated overview of Kv1.3 and Kv1.5 channels during cancer development. Unlike Kv1.5, Kv1.3 is characterized by a very selective and potent pharmacology, which could lead to specific pharmacological targeting. Because potassium channels may play a pivotal role in tumor cell proliferation, these proteins should be taken into account when designing new cancer treatment strategies.
Keywords: Ion channels, Kv1.3, Kv1.5, cancer, pharmacological targets, cell cycle, proliferation, tumor progression, apoptosis, oncogenesis
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport