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Cancer Research

Screening Ion Channels in Cancer Cells

Published: June 16th, 2023

DOI:

10.3791/65427

1Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine, Division of Neuro-Oncology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, 2Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Saint Joseph, 3The Vontz Center for Molecular Studies, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

The pharmacological targeting of ion channels is a promising approach to treating solid tumors. Detailed protocols are provided for characterizing ion channel function in cancer cells and assaying the effects of ion channel modulators on cancer viability.

Ion channels are critical for cell development and maintaining cell homeostasis. The perturbation of ion channel function contributes to the development of a broad range of disorders or channelopathies. Cancer cells utilize ion channels to drive their own development, as well as to improve as a tumor and to assimilate in a microenvironment that includes various non-cancerous cells. Furthermore, increases in levels of growth factors and hormones within the tumor microenvironment can result in enhanced ion channel expression, which contributes to cancer cell proliferation and survival. Thus, the pharmacological targeting of ion channels is potentially a promising approach to treating solid malignancies, including primary and metastatic brain cancers. Herein, protocols to characterize the function of ion channels in cancerous cells and approaches to analyze modulators of ion channels to determine their impact on cancer viability are described. These include staining a cell(s) for an ion channel(s), testing the polarized state of mitochondria, establishing ion channel function using electrophysiology, and performing viability assays to assess drug potency.

Membrane transport proteins are critical for communication between cells, as well as for maintaining cellular homeostasis. Amongst the membrane transport proteins, ion channels serve to drive the growth and development of cells and to maintain the state of cells in challenging and changing environments. Ion channels have also been reported to drive and support the development of solid tumors, both systemically and in the central nervous system (CNS)1,2. For example, KCa3.1 channels are responsible for regulating membrane potential and controlling cell volume, which is important in cell-cycle regulation. Defect....

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1. Immunolabeling ion channels in cultured cells

  1. Preparing the cells and experimental set-up
    1. Maintain the cells as an actively growing culture in 75 cm2 culture flasks. Passage the cells once until they become 50%-90% confluent, depending on the doubling time of the cell line being used.
      NOTE: For the present study, D283 cells, a Group 3 medulloblastoma cell line, were used.
    2. Collect the cells from the culture flask into a centrifuge tube (15 mL or 50 mL), and add 2 mL.......

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Above are select procedures that can be employed to characterize ion channels in cancerous cells. The first protocol highlights the staining of an ion channel. As detailed, there are many challenges when staining an ion channel or, for that matter, any protein that is present in the extracellular membrane. Shown in Figure 1 is the staining for a subunit of the pentameric GABAA receptor. The second protocol highlights the results of testing the polarized state of mitochondria in ca.......

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Changes in ion channel function alter intracellular signaling cascades, which can impact the overall functioning of a cell. Over the past decade, it has become increasingly clear that ion channels are important to cancer cell growth and metastasis. Importantly, many ion channels are primary targets for approved therapeutics targeting a broad range of disorders24. Investigators have probed whether ion channels could be anti-cancer targets, and the initial results are promising2

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The authors acknowledge support from the Thomas E. & Pamela M. Mischell Family Foundation to S.S. and the Harold C. Schott Foundation funding of the Harold C. Schott Endowed Chair, UC College of Medicine, to S.S.

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Name Company Catalog Number Comments
ABS SpectraMax Plate Reader Molecular Devices ABS
Accutase Invitrogen 00-4555-56
Alexa Flor 488 Invitrogen A32723 Goat Anti-Rabbit
Antibiotic-Antimycotic Gibco 15240-062 100x
B27 Supplement Gibco 12587-010 Lacks vitamin A
Biosafety Cabinet LABCONCO 302381101 Class II, Type A2
Bovine Serum Albumin Fisher Scientific BP1606-100
CO2 Incubator Fisher Scientific 13-998-211 Heracell VIOS 160i
Calcium Chloride Fisher Scientific C7902 Dihydrate
Cell Culture Dishes, 150 mm Fisher Scientific 12-600-004 Cell culture treated
Cell Culture Flasks, 75 cm2 Fisher Scientific 430641U Cell culture treated
Cell Culture Plates, 6 well Fisher Scientific 353046 Cell culture treated
Cell Culture Plates, 96 well Fisher Scientific 353072 Cell culture treated
Centrifuge Eppendorf EP-5804R Refrigerated
Corning CoolCell Fisher Scientific 07-210-0006
Coverslips, 22 x 22 mm Fisher Scientific 12-553-450 Corning brand
D283 Med ATCC HTB-185
DABCO Mounting Media EMS 17989-97
D-Glucose Sigma Life Sciences D9434
Dimethyl Sulfoxide Sigma Aldrich D2650 Cell culture grade
DMEM/F12, base media Fisher Scientific 11330-032 With phenol red
DMEM/F12, phenol red free Fisher Scientific 21041-025
EGTA Sigma Aldrich E4378
Epidermal Growth Factor STEMCELL 78006.1
FCCP Abcam AB120081
Fetal Bovine Serum, Qualified Gibco 10437-028
Fibroblast Growth Factor, Basic Millipore GF003
GARBA5 Antibody Aviva ARP30687_P050 Rabbit Polyclonal
Glutamax Gibco 35050-061
Glycerol Mounting Medium EMS 17989-60 With DAPI+DABCO
Hemocytometer Millipore Sigma
Heparin STEMCELL 7980
HEPES HyClone SH3023701 Solution
HEPES Fisher Scientific BP310-500 Solid
ImageJ Open platform With Fiji plugins
Immuno Mount DAPI EMS 17989-97
KRM-II-08 experimental compounds not available from a commercial source
Leica Application Suite X Leica Microsystems
Leukemia Inhibitory Factor Novus N276314100U
L-Glutamine Gibco 25030-081
Magnesium Chloride Sigma Aldrich M9272 Hexahydrate
Microscope, Confocal Leica SP8
Microscope, Light VWR 76382-982 DMiL Inverted
MTS - Promega One Step Promega G3581
Multi-channel pipette, 0.5-10 µL Eppendorf Z683914
Multi-channel pipette, 10-100 µL Eppendorf Z683930
Multi-channel pipette, 30-300 µL Eppendorf Z683957
Nest-O-Patch Heka
Neurobasal-A Medium Gibco 10888022 Without vitamin A
Neurobasal-A Medium Gibco 12348-017 Phenol red free
Non-Essential Amino Acids Gibco 11140-050
NOR-QH-II-66 experimental compounds not available from a commercial source
Parafilm Fisher Scientific 50-998-944 4 inch width
Paraformaldehyde EMS RT-15710
PATHCHMASTER Heka
Penicillin-Streptomycin Gibco 15140-122
Perfusion System Nanion 4000120
PFA EMS RT-15710
Phosphate Bufered Saline Fisher Scientific AAJ75889K2 Reagent grade
Poly-D-Lysine Fisher Scientific A3890401
Poly-L-Lysine Sigma Life Sciences P4707
Port-a-Patch Nanion 21000072
Potassium Chloride Sigma Life Sciences P5405
Primary Antibody Invitrogen MA5-34653 Rabbit Monoclonal
Prism GraphPad
Propofol Fisher Scientific NC0758676 1 mL ampule
QH-II-66 experimental compounds not available from a commercial source
Reagent Reservoirs VWR 89094-664 Sterile
Slides, 75 x 25 mm Fisher Scientific 12-544-7 Frosted one side
Sodium Bicarbonate Corning 25-035-Cl
Sodium Chloride Fisher Scientific S271-3
Sodium Pyruvate Gibco 11360-070
Synth-a-Freeze Medium Gibco R00550 Cryopreservation
TMRE Fisher Scientific 50-196-4741 Reagent
TMRE Kit Abcam AB113852 Kit
Triton X-100 Sigma Aldrich NC0704309
Trypan Blue Gibco 15-250-061 Solution, 0.4%
Trypsin/EDTA Gibco 25200-072 Solution, 0.25%
Vortex Mixer VWR 97043-562
Whatman Filter Paper Fisher Scientific 09-927-841

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