Aquaporins: History
In most cells, water moves in and out by diffusion through the lipid component of cell membranes. Due to the relatively high water permeability of some epithelial cells it was long suspected that some additional mechanism for water transport across membranes must exist, but it was not until the discovery of the first aquaporin, ‘aquaporin-1’ (originally known as CHIP), was reported by Peter Agre, then of Johns Hopkins University and now a professor and administrator at Duke University. The discovery of this first aquaporin took place in 1992

The pioneering discoveries and research on water channels by Agre and his colleagues resulted in the presentation of a Nobel Prize in Chemistry to Agre in 2003. In 2000, together with other research teams, Agre reported the first high-resolution images of the three-dimensional structure of an aquaporin, viz. aquaporin-1. Further studies using supercomputer simulations have identified the pathway of water as it moves through the channel and demonstrated how a pore can allow water to pass without the passage of small solutes.

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