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A set of novel Kv7.2/7.3 (KCNQ2/3) channel blockers was synthesized to address several liabilities of the known compounds XE991 (metabolic instability and CYP inhibition) and the clinical compound DMP 543 (acid instability, insolubility, and lipophilicity). Using the anthrone scaffold of the prior channel blockers, alternative heteroarylmethyl substituents were installed via enolate alkylation reactions. Incorporation of a pyridazine and a fluorinated pyridine gave an analog (compound 18, JDP-107) with a promising combination of potency (IC = 0.16 μM in a Kv7.2 thallium flux assay), efficacy in a Kv7.2/7.3 patch clamp assay, and drug-like properties.
Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Photopharmacology relies on ligands that change their pharmacodynamics upon photoisomerization. Many of these ligands are azobenzenes that are thermodynamically more stable in their elongated trans-configuration. Often, they are biologically active in this form and lose activity upon irradiation and photoisomerization to their cis-isomer. Recently, cyclic azobenzenes, so-called diazocines, have emerged, which are thermodynamically more stable in their bent cis-form. Incorporation of these switches into a variety of photopharmaceuticals could convert dark-active ligands into dark-inactive ligands, which is preferred in most biological applications. This "pharmacological sign-inversion" is demonstrated for a photochromic blocker of voltage-gated potassium channels, termed CAL, and a photochromic opener of G protein-coupled inwardly rectifying potassium (GIRK) channels, termed CLOGO.
© 2019 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.
Pancreatic α-cells exhibit oscillations in cytosolic Ca (Ca), which control pulsatile glucagon (GCG) secretion. However, the mechanisms that modulate α-cell Ca oscillations have not been elucidated. As β-cell Ca oscillations are regulated in part by Ca-activated K (K) currents, this work investigated the role of K in α-cell Ca handling and GCG secretion. α-Cells displayed K currents that were dependent on Ca influx through L- and P/Q-type voltage-dependent Ca channels (VDCCs) as well as Ca released from endoplasmic reticulum stores. α-Cell K was decreased by small-conductance Ca-activated K (SK) channel inhibitors apamin and UCL 1684, large-conductance Ca-activated K (BK) channel inhibitor iberiotoxin (IbTx), and intermediate-conductance Ca-activated K (IK) channel inhibitor TRAM 34. Moreover, partial inhibition of α-cell K with apamin depolarized membrane potential ( V) (3.8 ± 0.7 mV) and reduced action potential (AP) amplitude (10.4 ± 1.9 mV). Although apamin transiently increased Ca influx into α-cells at low glucose (42.9 ± 10.6%), sustained SK (38.5 ± 10.4%) or BK channel inhibition (31.0 ± 11.7%) decreased α-cell Ca influx. Total α-cell Ca was similarly reduced (28.3 ± 11.1%) following prolonged treatment with high glucose, but it was not decreased further by SK or BK channel inhibition. Consistent with reduced α-cell Ca following prolonged K inhibition, apamin decreased GCG secretion from mouse (20.4 ± 4.2%) and human (27.7 ± 13.1%) islets at low glucose. These data demonstrate that K activation provides a hyperpolarizing influence on α-cell V that sustains Ca entry during hypoglycemic conditions, presumably by preventing voltage-dependent inactivation of P/Q-type VDCCs. Thus, when α-cell Ca is elevated during secretagogue stimulation, K activation helps to preserve GCG secretion.
VU590 was the first publicly disclosed, submicromolar-affinity (IC = 0.2 M), small-molecule inhibitor of the inward rectifier potassium (Kir) channel and diuretic target, Kir1.1. VU590 also inhibits Kir7.1 (IC ∼ 8 M), and has been used to reveal new roles for Kir7.1 in regulation of myometrial contractility and melanocortin signaling. Here, we employed molecular modeling, mutagenesis, and patch clamp electrophysiology to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying VU590 inhibition of Kir1.1 and Kir7.1. Block of both channels is voltage- and K-dependent, suggesting the VU590 binding site is located within the pore. Mutagenesis analysis in Kir1.1 revealed that asparagine 171 (N171) is the only pore-lining residue required for high-affinity block, and that substituting negatively charged residues (N171D, N171E) at this position dramatically weakens block. In contrast, substituting a negatively charged residue at the equivalent position in Kir7.1 enhances block by VU590, suggesting the VU590 binding mode is different. Interestingly, mutations of threonine 153 (T153) in Kir7.1 that reduce constrained polarity at this site (T153C, T153V, T153S) make wild-type and binding-site mutants (E149Q, A150S) more sensitive to block by VU590. The Kir7.1-T153C mutation enhances block by the structurally unrelated inhibitor VU714 but not by a higher-affinity analog ML418, suggesting that the polar side chain of T153 creates a barrier to low-affinity ligands that interact with E149 and A150. Reverse mutations in Kir1.1 suggest that this mechanism is conserved in other Kir channels. This study reveals a previously unappreciated role of membrane pore polarity in determination of Kir channel inhibitor pharmacology.
Copyright © 2017 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
BACKGROUND - The widely used macrolide antibiotic azithromycin increases risk of cardiovascular and sudden cardiac death, although the underlying mechanisms are unclear. Case reports, including the one we document here, demonstrate that azithromycin can cause rapid, polymorphic ventricular tachycardia in the absence of QT prolongation, indicating a novel proarrhythmic syndrome. We investigated the electrophysiological effects of azithromycin in vivo and in vitro using mice, cardiomyocytes, and human ion channels heterologously expressed in human embryonic kidney (HEK 293) and Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells.
METHODS AND RESULTS - In conscious telemetered mice, acute intraperitoneal and oral administration of azithromycin caused effects consistent with multi-ion channel block, with significant sinus slowing and increased PR, QRS, QT, and QTc intervals, as seen with azithromycin overdose. Similarly, in HL-1 cardiomyocytes, the drug slowed sinus automaticity, reduced phase 0 upstroke slope, and prolonged action potential duration. Acute exposure to azithromycin reduced peak SCN5A currents in HEK cells (IC=110±3 μmol/L) and Na current in mouse ventricular myocytes. However, with chronic (24 hour) exposure, azithromycin caused a ≈2-fold increase in both peak and late SCN5A currents, with findings confirmed for I in cardiomyocytes. Mild block occurred for K currents representing I (CHO cells expressing hERG; IC=219±21 μmol/L) and I (CHO cells expressing KCNQ1+KCNE1; IC=184±12 μmol/L), whereas azithromycin suppressed L-type Ca currents (rabbit ventricular myocytes, IC=66.5±4 μmol/L) and I (HEK cells expressing Kir2.1, IC=44±3 μmol/L).
CONCLUSIONS - Chronic exposure to azithromycin increases cardiac Na current to promote intracellular Na loading, providing a potential mechanistic basis for the novel form of proarrhythmia seen with this macrolide antibiotic.
© 2017 American Heart Association, Inc.
The two-pore-domain potassium (K2P) channel TREK-2 serves to modulate plasma membrane potential in dorsal root ganglia c-fiber nociceptors, which tunes electrical excitability and nociception. Thus, TREK-2 channels are considered a potential therapeutic target for treating pain; however, there are currently no selective pharmacological tools for TREK-2 channels. Here we report the identification of the first TREK-2 selective activators using a high-throughput fluorescence-based thallium (Tl) flux screen (HTS). An initial pilot screen with a bioactive lipid library identified 11-deoxy prostaglandin F2α as a potent activator of TREK-2 channels (EC ≈ 0.294 μM), which was utilized to optimize the TREK-2 Tl flux assay (Z' = 0.752). A HTS was then performed with 76 575 structurally diverse small molecules. Many small molecules that selectively activate TREK-2 were discovered. As these molecules were able to activate single TREK-2 channels in excised membrane patches, they are likely direct TREK-2 activators. Furthermore, TREK-2 activators reduced primary dorsal root ganglion (DRG) c-fiber Ca influx. Interestingly, some of the selective TREK-2 activators such as 11-deoxy prostaglandin F2α were found to inhibit the K2P channel TREK-1. Utilizing chimeric channels containing portions of TREK-1 and TREK-2, the region of the TREK channels that allows for either small molecule activation or inhibition was identified. This region lies within the second pore domain containing extracellular loop and is predicted to play an important role in modulating TREK channel activity. Moreover, the selective TREK-2 activators identified in this HTS provide important tools for assessing human TREK-2 channel function and investigating their therapeutic potential for treating chronic pain.
Most small-molecule inhibitors of voltage-gated ion channels display poor subtype specificity because they bind to highly conserved residues located in the channel's central cavity. Using a combined approach of scanning mutagenesis, electrophysiology, chemical ligand modification, chemical cross-linking, MS/MS-analyses and molecular modelling, we provide evidence for the binding site for adamantane derivatives and their putative access pathway in Kv7.1/KCNE1 channels. The adamantane compounds, exemplified by JNJ303, are highly potent gating modifiers that bind to fenestrations that become available when KCNE1 accessory subunits are bound to Kv7.1 channels. This mode of regulation by auxiliary subunits may facilitate the future development of potent and highly subtype-specific Kv channel inhibitors.
The QT interval on surface electrocardiograms provides a model of a multicomponent integrated readout of many biological systems, including ion channels, modulatory subunits, signaling systems that modulate their activity, and mechanisms that regulate the expression of their responsible genes. The problem of drug exposure causing exaggerated QT interval prolongation and torsades de pointes highlights the multicomponent nature of cardiac repolarization and the way in which simple perturbations can yield exaggerated responses. Future directions will involve cellular approaches coupled to evolving technologies that can interrogate multicellular systems and provide a sophisticated view of mechanisms in this previously idiosyncratic drug reaction.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The inward rectifier potassium (Kir) channel Kir7.1 (KCNJ13) has recently emerged as a key regulator of melanocortin signaling in the brain, electrolyte homeostasis in the eye, and uterine muscle contractility during pregnancy. The pharmacological tools available for exploring the physiology and therapeutic potential of Kir7.1 have been limited to relatively weak and nonselective small-molecule inhibitors. Here, we report the discovery in a fluorescence-based high-throughput screen of a novel Kir7.1 channel inhibitor, VU714. Site-directed mutagenesis of pore-lining amino acid residues identified glutamate 149 and alanine 150 as essential determinants of VU714 activity. Lead optimization with medicinal chemistry generated ML418, which exhibits sub-micromolar activity (IC50 = 310 nM) and superior selectivity over other Kir channels (at least 17-fold selective over Kir1.1, Kir2.1, Kir2.2, Kir2.3, Kir3.1/3.2, and Kir4.1) except for Kir6.2/SUR1 (equally potent). Evaluation in the EuroFins Lead Profiling panel of 64 GPCRs, ion-channels, and transporters for off-target activity of ML418 revealed a relatively clean ancillary pharmacology. While ML418 exhibited low CLHEP in human microsomes which could be modulated with lipophilicity adjustments, it showed high CLHEP in rat microsomes regardless of lipophilicity. A subsequent in vivo PK study of ML418 by intraperitoneal (IP) administration (30 mg/kg dosage) revealed a suitable PK profile (Cmax = 0.20 μM and Tmax = 3 h) and favorable CNS distribution (mouse brain/plasma Kp of 10.9 to support in vivo studies. ML418, which represents the current state-of-the-art in Kir7.1 inhibitors, should be useful for exploring the physiology of Kir7.1 in vitro and in vivo.
The renal outer medullary potassium channel (ROMK, or Kir1.1, encoded by KCNJ1) critically regulates renal tubule electrolyte and water transport and hence blood volume and pressure. The discovery of loss-of-function mutations in KCNJ1 underlying renal salt and water wasting and lower blood pressure has sparked interest in developing new classes of antihypertensive diuretics targeting ROMK. The recent development of nanomolar-affinity small-molecule inhibitors of ROMK creates opportunities for exploring the chemical and physical basis of ligand-channel interactions required for selective ROMK inhibition. We previously reported that the bis-nitro-phenyl ROMK inhibitor VU591 exhibits voltage-dependent knock-off at hyperpolarizing potentials, suggesting that the binding site is located within the ion-conduction pore. In this study, comparative molecular modeling and in silico ligand docking were used to interrogate the full-length ROMK pore for energetically favorable VU591 binding sites. Cluster analysis of 2498 low-energy poses resulting from 9900 Monte Carlo docking trajectories on each of 10 conformationally distinct ROMK comparative homology models identified two putative binding sites in the transmembrane pore that were subsequently tested for a role in VU591-dependent inhibition using site-directed mutagenesis and patch-clamp electrophysiology. Introduction of mutations into the lower site had no effect on the sensitivity of the channel to VU591. In contrast, mutations of Val(168) or Asn(171) in the upper site, which are unique to ROMK within the Kir channel family, led to a dramatic reduction in VU591 sensitivity. This study highlights the utility of computational modeling for defining ligand-ROMK interactions and proposes a mechanism for inhibition of ROMK.
Copyright © 2015 Biophysical Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.