Aquaporins: A Family of Highly Regulated Multifunctional Channels

  • Charles Hachez
  • François Chaumont
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 679)


Aquaporins (AQPs) were discovered as channels facilitating water movement across cellular membranes. Whereas much of the research has focused on characterizing AQPs with respect to cell water homeostasis, recent discoveries in terms of the transport selectivity of AQP homologs has shed new light on their physiological roles. In fact, whereas some AQPs behave as “strict” water channels, others can conduct a wide range of nonpolar solutes, such as urea or glycerol and even more unconventional permeants, such as the nonpolar gases carbon dioxide and nitric oxide, the polar gas ammonia, the reactive oxygen species hydrogen peroxide and the metalloids antimonite, arsenite, boron and silicon. This suggests that AQPs are also key players in various physiological processes not related to water homeostasis. The function, regulation and biological importance of AQPs in the different kingdoms is reviewed in this chapter, with special emphasis on animal and plant AQPs.


Water Permeability Water Channel Intrinsic Protein Major Intrinsic Protein Plasma Membrane Intrinsic Protein 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.François Chaumont-Institut des Sciences de la VieUniversité catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  2. 2.Institut des Sciences de la VieUniversité catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium

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