The use of Xenopus oocytes in drug screening

Trine Kvist, Kasper Bø Hansen, Hans Bräuner-Osborne

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Introduction: The physiological roles of ion channels are receiving increased interest in both basic research and drug discovery, and a demand for pharmacological approaches that can characterize or screen ion channels and their ligands with higher throughput has emerged. Traditionally, screening of compound libraries at ion channel targets has been performed using assays such as binding assays, fluorescence-based assays and flux assays that allow high-throughput, but sacrifice high data quality. The use of these assays with ion channel targets can also be problematic, emphasizing the usefulness of automated Xenopus oocyte electrophysiological assays in drug screening. Areas covered: This review summarizes the use of Xenopus oocytes in drug screening, presents the advantages and disadvantages of the use of Xenopus oocytes as expression system, and addresses the options available for automated two-electrode voltage-clamp recordings from Xenopus oocytes. Expert opinion: Automated and manual Xenopus oocyte two-electrode voltage-clamp recordings are useful and important techniques in drug screening. Although they are not compatible with high-throughput experimentation, these techniques are excellent in combination or as alternatives to fluorescence-based assays for hit validation, screening of focused compound libraries and safety screening on ion channels with their high flexibility for the choice of molecular targets, quality of data and reproducibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-153
Number of pages13
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Discovery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • GPCR
  • Xenopus oocytes
  • drug discovery
  • drug screening
  • electrophysiology
  • ligand-gated ion channel
  • transporter
  • two-electrode voltage-clamp
  • voltage-gated ion channel


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