The divalent cation-selective channel transient receptor potential melastatin 7 (TRPM7) channel was shown to affect the proliferation of some types of cancer cell. However, the function of TRPM7 in the viability of breast cancer cells remains unclear. Here we show that TRPM inhibitors suppressed the viability of TRPM7-expressing breast cancer cells. We first demonstrated that the TRPM7 inhibitors 2-aminoethyl diphenylborinate (2-APB), ginsenoside Rd (Gin Rd), and waixenicin A preferentially suppressed the viability of human embryonic kidney HEK293 overexpressing TRPM7 (HEK-M7) cells over wildtype HEK293 (WT-HEK). Next, we confirmed the effects of 2-APB on the TRPM7 channel functions by whole-cell currents and divalent cation influx. The inhibition of the viability of HEK-M7 cells by 2-APB was not mediated by the increase in cell death but by the interruption of the cell cycle. Similar to HEK-M7 cells, the viability of TRPM7-expressing human breast cancer MDA-MB-231, AU565, and T47D cells were also suppressed by 2-APB by arresting the cell cycle in the S phase. Furthermore, in a novel TRPM7 knock-out MDA-MB-231 (KO-231) cell line, decreased divalent influx and reduced proliferation were observed compared to the wildtype MDA-MB-231 cells. 2-APB and Gin Rd preferentially suppressed the viability of wildtype MDA-MB-231 cells over KO-231 by affecting the cell cycle in wildtype but not KO-231 cells. Our results suggest that TRPM7 regulates the cell cycle of breast cancers and is a potential therapeutic target.
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