The ENaC/degenerin ion channel superfamily includes the amiloride-sensitive epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) and acid sensitive ionic channel (ASIC). ENaC is a multimeric ion channel formed by heteromultimeric membrane glycoproteins, which participate in a multitude of biological processes by mediating the transport of sodium (Na+) across epithelial tissues such as the kidney, lungs, bladder, and gut. Aberrant ENaC functions contribute to several human disease states including pseudohypoaldosteronism, Liddle syndrome, cystic fibrosis, and salt-sensitive hypertension. Increasing evidence suggests that ion channels not only regulate ion homeostasis and electric signaling in excitable cells but also play important roles in cancer cell behaviors such as proliferation, apoptosis, invasion, and migration. Indeed, ENaCs/ASICs had been reported to be associated with cancer characteristics. Given their cell surface localization and pharmacology, pharmacological strategies to target ENaC/ASIC family members may be promising cancer therapeutics.
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