The sigma-1 receptor: A regulator of cancer cell electrical plasticity?

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Originally mistaken as an opioid receptor, the sigma-1 receptor (Sig1R) is a ubiquitous membrane protein that has been involved in many cellular processes. While the precise function of Sig1R has long remained mysterious, recent studies have shed light on its role and the molecular mechanisms triggered. Sig1R is in fact a stress-activated chaperone mainly associated with the ER-mitochondria interface that can regulate cell survival through the control of calcium homeostasis. Sig1R functionally regulates ion channels belonging to various molecular families and it has thus been involved in neuronal plasticity and central nervous system diseases. Interestingly, Sig1R is frequently expressed in tumors but its function in cancer has not been yet clarified. In this review, we discuss the current understanding of Sig1R. We suggest herein that Sig1R shapes cancer cell electrical signature upon environmental conditions. Thus, Sig1R may be used as a novel therapeutic target to specifically abrogate pro-invasive functions of ion channels in cancer tissue.




Crottés, D., Guizouarn, H., Martin, P., Borgese, F., & Soriani, O. (2013). The sigma-1 receptor: A regulator of cancer cell electrical plasticity? Frontiers in Physiology.

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