Graça Soveral

Membrane Transporters in Health & Disease

Our group investigates membrane transport proteins in living organisms and their potential as new biomarkers and drug targets. We identify mechanisms of regulation and dysfunction leading to disease and discover chemical compounds as modulators, characterizing kinetics and pharmacological potential for therapeutics of metabolic disorders, inflammation and cancer.

Membrane transporters and channels mediate the traffic of water, ions, solutes and metabolites across biological membranes and are crucial to homeostasis, assuring cell survival upon intracellular or environmental stresses. These proteins also serve as drug targets and are key players in the phenomenon of drug resistance. Aquaporins are channels with broad importance in health and disease, maintaining the body’s fluid and energy homeostasis and with roles in kidney disease, obesity, diabetes, inflammation and cancer. Aquaporin drug discovery is now an emergent field where the search for physiological mechanisms of regulation and for chemical modulators, present new opportunities for drug development and new therapies.


The Membrane Transporters in Health & Disease group investigates the regulation of membrane transport proteins, with emphasis on aquaporins, exploring their potential as biomarkers and drug targets in metabolic diseases, inflammation and oncology. We study mechanisms of regulation and dysfunction implicated in disease, discover chemical and biological compounds as modulators and characterize their kinetics and pharmacology for novel therapeutic approaches.

da Silva IV, Cardoso C, Martínez-Banaclocha H, Casini A, Pelegrín P, Soveral G. Aquaporin-3 is involved in NLRP3 inflammasome activation contributing to the setting of inflammatory response. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2021, 78(6):3073-3085. DOI: 10.1007/s00018-020-03708-3
Rodrigues C, Pimpão C, Mósca AF, Coxixo AS, Lopes D, da Silva IV, Pedersen PA, Antunes F, Soveral G. Human aquaporin-5 facilitates hydrogen peroxide permeation affecting adaption to oxidative stress and cancer cell migration. Cancers (Basel), 2019, 11(7). pii: E932. DOI: 10.3390/cancers11070932
Gotfryd K, Mósca AF, Missel JW, Truelsen S, Wang K, Spulber M, Krabbe S, Hélix-Nielsen C, Laforenza U, Soveral G, Pedersen PA, Gourdon P. Human adipose glycerol flux is regulated by a pH gate in AQP10. Nat Commun. 2018, 9: 4749. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-07176-z
Mósca AF, de Almeida A, Wragg D, Martins AP, Sabir F, Leoni S, Moura TF, Prista C, Casini A, Soveral G. Molecular basis of aquaporin-7 permeability regulation by pH. Cells 2018, 7:207. DOI: 10.3390/cells7110207
Direito I, Paulino J, Vigia E, Brito MA, Soveral G. Differential expression of aquaporin-3 and aquaporin-5 in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. J Surg Oncol. 2017, 115(8): 980-996. DOI: 10.1002/jso.24605

Graça Soveral

Group Leader


Phone: (+351) 217946461

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Faculdade de Farmácia da Universidade de Lisboa | Av. Professor Gama Pinto
1649-003 Lisboa | Portugal

Phone | +351 217 946 400
Fax | +351 217 946 470
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