Aquaporins are unique water channel proteins located at cell membranes that possess high water permeability and high solute rejection. Their primary function is to maintain the osmotic balance of the cells via regulating the water transport. However, their discovery had also provided the scientists to understand the pathophysiology of some diseases. In fact, aquaporins are shown to be strongly related to cancer by taking part in several tumor-related processes such as cell migration, cell proliferation and cell adhesion. Other than their functions in human body, recently, aquaporins have started to be used in engineering biomimetic membranes, for different applications such as desalination. This review investigates the properties and functions of the aquaporins in a multidisciplinary point of view and demonstrates the recent developments in aquaporin-based research.
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