Mechanosensitive pannexin-1 channels mediate microvascular metastatic cell survival Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Breast Neoplasms
  • Connexins
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins


  • During metastatic progression, circulating cancer cells become lodged within the microvasculature of end organs, where most die from mechanical deformation. Although this phenomenon was first described over a half-century ago, the mechanisms enabling certain cells to survive this metastasis-suppressive barrier remain unknown. By applying whole-transcriptome RNA-sequencing technology to¬†isogenic cancer cells of differing metastatic capacities, we identified a mutation encoding a truncated form of the pannexin-1 (PANX1) channel, PANX1(1-89), as recurrently enriched in highly metastatic breast cancer cells. PANX1(1-89) functions to permit metastatic cell survival during traumatic deformation in the microvasculature by augmenting ATP release from mechanosensitive PANX1 channels activated by membrane stretch. PANX1-mediated ATP release acts as an autocrine suppressor of deformation-induced apoptosis through P2Y-purinergic receptors. Finally, small-molecule therapeutic inhibition of PANX1 channels is found to reduce the efficiency of breast cancer metastasis. These data suggest a molecular basis for metastatic cell survival on microvasculature-induced biomechanical trauma.

publication date

  • January 2015



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed Central ID

  • PMC5310712

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/ncb3194

PubMed ID

  • 26098574

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 943

end page

  • 52


  • 17


  • 7