Voltage-gated potassium (Kv) channel dysfunction causes a variety of inherited disorders, but developing small molecules that activate Kv channels has proven challenging. We recently discovered that the inhibitory neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) directly activates Kv channels KCNQ3 and KCNQ5. Here, finding that inhibitory neurotransmitter glycine does not activate KCNQs, we re-engineered it in silico to introduce predicted KCNQ-opening properties, screened by in silico docking, then validated the hits in vitro. Attaching a fluorophenyl ring to glycine optimized its electrostatic potential, converting it to a low-nM affinity KCNQ channel activator. Repositioning the phenyl ring fluorine and/or adding a methylsulfonyl group increased the efficacy of the re-engineered glycines and switched their target KCNQs. Combining KCNQ2- and KCNQ3-specific glycine derivatives synergistically potentiated KCNQ2/3 activation by exploiting heteromeric channel composition. Thus, in silico optimization and docking, combined with functional screening of only three compounds, facilitated re-engineering of glycine to develop several potent KCNQ activators.
|Publication status||Published - 1 Nov 2019|
Bibliographical noteThis article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the
article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/