Unexpected link between an antibiotic, pannexin channels and apoptosis Academic Article uri icon


  • Plasma membrane pannexin 1 channels (PANX1) release nucleotide find-me signals from apoptotic cells to attract phagocytes. Here we show that the quinolone antibiotic trovafloxacin is a novel PANX1 inhibitor, by using a small-molecule screen. Although quinolones are widely used to treat bacterial infections, some quinolones have unexplained side effects, including deaths among children. PANX1 is a direct target of trovafloxacin at drug concentrations seen in human plasma, and its inhibition led to dysregulated fragmentation of apoptotic cells. Genetic loss of PANX1 phenocopied trovafloxacin effects, revealing a non-redundant role for pannexin channels in regulating cellular disassembly during apoptosis. Increase in drug-resistant bacteria worldwide and the dearth of new antibiotics is a major human health challenge. Comparing different quinolone antibiotics suggests that certain structural features may contribute to PANX1 blockade. These data identify a novel linkage between an antibiotic, pannexin channels and cellular integrity, and suggest that re-engineering certain quinolones might help develop newer antibacterials.


  • Poon, IKH
  • Chiu, Y-H
  • Armstrong, AJ
  • Kinchen, JM
  • Juncadella, IJ
  • Bayliss, DA
  • Ravichandran, KS

publication date

  • 2014

published in