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Energy stores in fat tissue are determined in part by the activity of hypothalamic neurones expressing the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R). Even a partial reduction in MC4R expression levels in mice, rats or humans produces hyperphagia and morbid obesity. Thus, it is of great interest to understand the molecular basis of neuromodulation by the MC4R. The MC4R is a G protein-coupled receptor that signals efficiently through Gα , and this signalling pathway is essential for normal MC4R function in vivo. However, previous data from hypothalamic slice preparations indicated that activation of the MC4R depolarised neurones via G protein-independent regulation of the ion channel Kir7.1. In the present study, we show that deletion of Kcnj13 (ie, the gene encoding Kir7.1) specifically from MC4R neurones produced resistance to melanocortin peptide-induced depolarisation of MC4R paraventricular nucleus neurones in brain slices, resistance to the sustained anorexic effect of exogenously administered melanocortin peptides, late onset obesity, increased linear growth and glucose intolerance. Some MC4R-mediated phenotypes appeared intact, including Agouti-related peptide-induced stimulation of food intake and MC4R-mediated induction of peptide YY release from intestinal L cells. Thus, a subset of the consequences of MC4R signalling in vivo appears to be dependent on expression of the Kir7.1 channel in MC4R cells.
© 2018 British Society for Neuroendocrinology.
The inward rectifier potassium (Kir) channel Kir4.1 () carries out important physiologic roles in epithelial cells of the kidney, astrocytes in the central nervous system, and stria vascularis of the inner ear. Loss-of-function mutations in lead to EAST/SeSAME syndrome, which is characterized by epilepsy, ataxia, renal salt wasting, and sensorineural deafness. Although genetic approaches have been indispensable for establishing the importance of Kir4.1 in the normal function of these tissues, the availability of pharmacological tools for acutely manipulating the activity of Kir4.1 in genetically normal animals has been lacking. We therefore carried out a high-throughput screen of 76,575 compounds from the Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology library for small-molecule modulators of Kir4.1. The most potent inhibitor identified was 2-(2-bromo-4-isopropylphenoxy)--(2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidin-4-yl)acetamide (VU0134992). In whole-cell patch-clamp electrophysiology experiments, VU0134992 inhibits Kir4.1 with an IC value of 0.97 M and is 9-fold selective for homomeric Kir4.1 over Kir4.1/5.1 concatemeric channels (IC = 9 M) at -120 mV. In thallium (Tl) flux assays, VU0134992 is greater than 30-fold selective for Kir4.1 over Kir1.1, Kir2.1, and Kir2.2; is weakly active toward Kir2.3, Kir6.2/SUR1, and Kir7.1; and is equally active toward Kir3.1/3.2, Kir3.1/3.4, and Kir4.2. This potency and selectivity profile is superior to Kir4.1 inhibitors amitriptyline, nortriptyline, and fluoxetine. Medicinal chemistry identified components of VU0134992 that are critical for inhibiting Kir4.1. Patch-clamp electrophysiology, molecular modeling, and site-directed mutagenesis identified pore-lining glutamate 158 and isoleucine 159 as critical residues for block of the channel. VU0134992 displayed a large free unbound fraction () in rat plasma ( = 0.213). Consistent with the known role of Kir4.1 in renal function, oral dosing of VU0134992 led to a dose-dependent diuresis, natriuresis, and kaliuresis in rats. Thus, VU0134992 represents the first in vivo active tool compound for probing the therapeutic potential of Kir4.1 as a novel diuretic target for the treatment of hypertension.
Copyright © 2018 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
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.
Aberrant activation of with no lysine (WNK) kinases causes familial hyperkalemic hypertension (FHHt). Thiazide diuretics treat the disease, fostering the view that hyperactivation of the thiazide-sensitive sodium-chloride cotransporter (NCC) in the distal convoluted tubule (DCT) is solely responsible. However, aberrant signaling in the aldosterone-sensitive distal nephron (ASDN) and inhibition of the potassium-excretory renal outer medullary potassium (ROMK) channel have also been implicated. To test these ideas, we introduced kinase-activating mutations after Lox-P sites in the mouse gene, which encodes the terminal kinase in the WNK signaling pathway, Ste20-related proline-alanine-rich kinase (SPAK). Renal expression of the constitutively active (CA)-SPAK mutant was specifically targeted to the early DCT using a DCT-driven Cre recombinase. CA-SPAK mice displayed thiazide-treatable hypertension and hyperkalemia, concurrent with NCC hyperphosphorylation. However, thiazide-mediated inhibition of NCC and consequent restoration of sodium excretion did not immediately restore urinary potassium excretion in CA-SPAK mice. Notably, CA-SPAK mice exhibited ASDN remodeling, involving a reduction in connecting tubule mass and attenuation of epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) and ROMK expression and apical localization. Blocking hyperactive NCC in the DCT gradually restored ASDN structure and ENaC and ROMK expression, concurrent with the restoration of urinary potassium excretion. These findings verify that NCC hyperactivity underlies FHHt but also reveal that NCC-dependent changes in the driving force for potassium secretion are not sufficient to explain hyperkalemia. Instead, a DCT-ASDN coupling process controls potassium balance in health and becomes aberrantly activated in FHHt.
Copyright © 2017 by the American Society of Nephrology.
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.
BACKGROUND - Despite increased secondary cardiovascular events in patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy (ICM), the expression of innate cardiac protective molecules in the hearts of patients with ICM is incompletely characterized. Therefore, we used a nonbiased RNAseq approach to determine whether differences in cardiac protective molecules occur with ICM.
METHODS AND RESULTS - RNAseq analysis of human control and ICM left ventricular samples demonstrated a significant decrease in expression with ICM. encodes the Kir6.2 subunit of the cardioprotective K channel. Using wild-type mice and -deficient (-null) mice, we examined the effect of expression on cardiac function during ischemia-reperfusion injury. Reactive oxygen species generation increased in -null hearts above that found in wild-type mice hearts after ischemia-reperfusion injury. Continuous left ventricular pressure measurement during ischemia and reperfusion demonstrated a more compromised diastolic function in -null compared with wild-type mice during reperfusion. Analysis of key calcium-regulating proteins revealed significant differences in -null mice. Despite impaired relaxation, -null hearts increased phospholamban Ser16 phosphorylation, a modification that results in the dissociation of phospholamban from sarcoendoplasmic reticulum Ca, thereby increasing sarcoendoplasmic reticulum Ca-mediated calcium reuptake. However, -null mice also had increased 3-nitrotyrosine modification of the sarcoendoplasmic reticulum Ca-ATPase, a modification that irreversibly impairs sarcoendoplasmic reticulum Ca function, thereby contributing to diastolic dysfunction.
CONCLUSIONS - expression is decreased in human ICM. Lack of expression increases peroxynitrite-mediated modification of the key calcium-handling protein sarcoendoplasmic reticulum Ca-ATPase after myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury, contributing to impaired diastolic function. These data suggest a mechanism for ischemia-induced diastolic dysfunction in patients with ICM.
© 2017 American Heart Association, Inc.
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.
The regulated release of anorexigenic α-melanocyte stimulating hormone (α-MSH) and orexigenic Agouti-related protein (AgRP) from discrete hypothalamic arcuate neurons onto common target sites in the central nervous system has a fundamental role in the regulation of energy homeostasis. Both peptides bind with high affinity to the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R); existing data show that α-MSH is an agonist that couples the receptor to the Gαs signalling pathway, while AgRP binds competitively to block α-MSH binding and blocks the constitutive activity mediated by the ligand-mimetic amino-terminal domain of the receptor. Here we show that, in mice, regulation of firing activity of neurons from the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN) by α-MSH and AgRP can be mediated independently of Gαs signalling by ligand-induced coupling of MC4R to closure of inwardly rectifying potassium channel, Kir7.1. Furthermore, AgRP is a biased agonist that hyperpolarizes neurons by binding to MC4R and opening Kir7.1, independently of its inhibition of α-MSH binding. Consequently, Kir7.1 signalling appears to be central to melanocortin-mediated regulation of energy homeostasis within the PVN. Coupling of MC4R to Kir7.1 may explain unusual aspects of the control of energy homeostasis by melanocortin signalling, including the gene dosage effect of MC4R and the sustained effects of AgRP on food intake.
BACKGROUND - The kidney-specific sodium-potassium-chloride cotransporter (NKCC2) protein encoded by solute carrier family 12 member 1 (SLC12A1) is the direct downstream effector of the inward-rectifier potassium channel (ROMK) encoded by potassium inwardly-rectifying channel, subfamily J, member 1 (KCNJ1), both of which are critical for calcium reabsorption in the kidney.
OBJECTIVE - We hypothesized that polymorphisms in KCNJ1, SLC12A1, and 7 other genes may modify the association between calcium intake and colorectal neoplasia risk.
METHODS - We conducted a 2-phase study in 1336 cases and 2891 controls from the Tennessee Colorectal Polyp Study.
RESULTS - In phase I, we identified 5 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that significantly interacted with calcium intake in adenoma risk. In phase II, rs2855798 in KCNJ1 was replicated. In combined analysis of phases I and II, the P values for interactions between calcium intake and rs2855798 were 1 × 10(-4) for all adenoma and 5 × 10(-3) for multiple/advanced adenoma. The highest calcium intake was not associated with risk among those with no variant allele but was significantly associated with a 41% reduced adenoma risk among those who carried at least 1 variant allele in KCNJ1. The corresponding reduction in risk of multiple or advanced adenomas was 52% among those with at least 1 variant allele. The P values for interactions between calcium intake and combined SNPs from the KCNJ1 and SLC12A1 genes were 7.5 × 10(-5) for adenoma and 9.9 × 10(-5) for multiple/advanced adenoma. The highest calcium intake was not associated with risk among those with nonvariant alleles in 2 genes but was significantly associated with a 34% reduced adenoma risk among those who carried a variant allele in 1 of the genes. The corresponding reduction in risk of multiple or advanced adenomas was 64% among those with variant alleles in both genes.
CONCLUSION - These findings, if confirmed, will be critical for the development of personalized prevention strategies for colorectal cancer.
© 2014 American Society for Nutrition.