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In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (7)

Articles by Jerod S. Denton in JoVE

 JoVE Biology

High-throughput Screening for Small-molecule Modulators of Inward Rectifier Potassium Channels

1Department of Pharmacology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, 2Department of Anesthesiology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, 3Vanderbilt Institute of Chemical Biology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine


JoVE 4209

Methods for developing and validating a quantitative fluorescence assay for measuring the activity of inward rectifier potassium (Kir) channels for high-throughput compound screening is presented.

Other articles by Jerod S. Denton on PubMed

A Computational Analysis of Central CO2 Chemosensitivity in Helix Aspersa

We created a single-compartment computer model of a CO(2) chemosensory neuron using differential equations adapted from the Hodgkin-Huxley model and measurements of currents in CO(2) chemosensory neurons from Helix aspersa. We incorporated into the model two inward currents, a sodium current and a calcium current, three outward potassium currents, an A-type current (I(KA)), a delayed rectifier current (I(KDR)), a calcium-activated potassium current (I(KCa)), and a proton conductance found in invertebrate cells. All of the potassium channels were inhibited by reduced pH. We also included the pH regulatory process to mimic the effect of the sodium-hydrogen exchanger (NHE) described in these cells during hypercapnic stimulation. The model displayed chemosensory behavior (increased spike frequency during acid stimulation), and all three potassium channels participated in the chemosensory response and shaped the temporal characteristics of the response to acid stimulation. pH-dependent inhibition of I(KA) initiated the response to CO(2), but hypercapnic inhibition of I(KDR) and I(KCa) affected the duration of the excitatory response to hypercapnia. The presence or absence of NHE activity altered the chemosensory response over time and demonstrated the inadvisability of effective intracellular pH (pH(i)) regulation in cells designed to act as chemostats for acid-base regulation. The results of the model indicate that multiple channels contribute to CO(2) chemosensitivity, but the primary sensor is probably I(KA). pH(i) may be a sufficient chemosensory stimulus, but it may not be a necessary stimulus: either pH(i) or extracellular pH can be an effective stimuli if chemosensory neurons express appropriate pH-sensitive channels. The lack of pH(i) regulation is a key feature determining the neuronal activity of chemosensory cells over time, and the balanced lack of pH(i) regulation during hypercapnia probably depends on intracellular activation of pH(i) regulation but extracellular inhibition of pH(i) regulation. These general principles are applicable to all CO(2) chemosensory cells in vertebrate and invertebrate neurons.

CO2 Chemosensitivity in Helix Aspersa: Three Potassium Currents Mediate PH-sensitive Neuronal Spike Timing

Elevated levels of carbon dioxide increase lung ventilation in Helix aspersa. The hypercapnic response originates from a discrete respiratory chemosensory region in the dorsal subesophageal ganglia that contains CO(2)-sensitive neurons. We tested the hypothesis that pH-dependent inhibition of potassium channels in neurons in this region mediated the chemosensory response to CO(2). Cells isolated from the dorsal subesophageal ganglia retained CO(2) chemosensitivity and exhibited membrane depolarization and/or an increase in input resistance during an acid challenge. Isolated somata expressed two voltage-dependent potassium channels, an A-type and a delayed-rectifier-type channel (I(KA) and I(KDR)). Both conductances were inhibited during hypercapnia. The pattern of voltage dependence indicated that I(KA) was affected by extracellular or intracellular pH, but the activity of I(KDR) was modulated by extracellular pH only. Application of inhibitors of either channel mimicked many of the effects of acidification in isolated cells and neurons in situ. We also detected evidence of a pH-sensitive calcium-activated potassium channel (I(KCa)) in neurons in situ. The results of these studies support the hypothesis that I(KA) initiates the chemosensory response, and I(KDR) and I(KCa) prolong the period of activation of CO(2)-sensitive neurons. Thus multiple potassium channels are inhibited by acidosis, and the combined effect of pH-dependent inhibition of these channels enhances neuronal excitability and mediates CO(2) chemosensory responses in H. aspersa. We did not find a single "chemosensory channel," and the chemosensitive channels that we did find were not unique in any way that we could detect. The protein "machinery" of CO(2) chemosensitivity is probably widespread among neurons, and the selection process whereby a neuron acts or does not act as a respiratory CO(2) chemosensor probably depends on the resting membrane potential and synaptic connectivity.

The Kir Channel Immunoglobulin Domain is Essential for Kir1.1 (ROMK) Thermodynamic Stability, Trafficking and Gating

The renal inward rectifying potassium channel Kir1.1 plays key roles in regulating electrolyte homeostasis and blood pressure. Loss-of-function mutations in the channel cause a life-threatening salt and water balance disorder in infants called antenatal Bartter syndrome (ABS). Of more than 30 ABS mutations identified, approximately half are located in the intracellular domain of the channel. The mechanisms underlying channel dysfunction for most of these mutations are unknown. By mapping intracellular mutations onto an atomic model of Kir1.1, we found that several of these are localized to a phylogenetically ancient immunoglobulin (Ig)-like domain (IgLD) that has not been characterized previously, prompting us to examine this structure in detail. The IgLD is assembled from two beta-pleated sheets packed face-to-face, creating a beta-sheet interface or core, populated by highly conserved side chains. Thermodynamic calculations on computationally mutated channels suggest that IgLD core residues are among the most important residues for determining cytoplasmic domain stability. Consistent with this notion, we show that two ABS mutations (A198T and Y314C) located within the IgLD core impair channel biosynthesis and trafficking in mammalian cells. A fraction of core mutant channels reach the cell surface, but are electrically silent due to closure of the helix-bundle gate. Compensatory mutation-induced rescue of channel function revealed that IgLD core mutants fail to rectify. Our study sheds new light on the pathogenesis of ABS and establishes the IgLD as an essential structure within the Kir channel family.

High-throughput Screening Reveals a Small-molecule Inhibitor of the Renal Outer Medullary Potassium Channel and Kir7.1

The renal outer medullary potassium channel (ROMK) is expressed in the kidney tubule and critically regulates sodium and potassium balance. The physiological functions of other inward rectifying K(+) (Kir) channels expressed in the nephron, such as Kir7.1, are less well understood in part due to the lack of selective pharmacological probes targeting inward rectifiers. In an effort to identify Kir channel probes, we performed a fluorescence-based, high-throughput screen (HTS) of 126,009 small molecules for modulators of ROMK function. Several antagonists were identified in the screen. One compound, termed VU590, inhibits ROMK with submicromolar affinity, but has no effect on Kir2.1 or Kir4.1. Low micromolar concentrations inhibit Kir7.1, making VU590 the first small-molecule inhibitor of Kir7.1. Structure-activity relationships of VU590 were defined using small-scale parallel synthesis. Electrophysiological analysis indicates that VU590 is an intracellular pore blocker. VU590 and other compounds identified by HTS will be instrumental in defining Kir channel structure, physiology, and therapeutic potential.

Small-molecule Modulators of Inward Rectifier K+ Channels: Recent Advances and Future Possibilities

Inward rectifier potassium (Kir) channels have been postulated as therapeutic targets for several common disorders including hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias and pain. With few exceptions, however, the small-molecule pharmacology of this family is limited to nonselective cardiovascular and neurologic drugs with off-target activity toward inward rectifiers. Consequently, the actual therapeutic potential and 'drugability' of most Kir channels has not yet been determined experimentally. The purpose of this review is to provide a comprehensive summary of publicly disclosed Kir channel small-molecule modulators and highlight recent targeted drug-discovery efforts toward Kir1.1 and Kir2.1. The review concludes with a brief speculation on how the field of Kir channel pharmacology will develop over the coming years and a discussion of the increasingly important role academic laboratories will play in this progress.

Development of a Selective Small-molecule Inhibitor of Kir1.1, the Renal Outer Medullary Potassium Channel

The renal outer medullary potassium (K+) channel, ROMK (Kir1.1), is a putative drug target for a novel class of loop diuretic that would lower blood volume and pressure without causing hypokalemia. However, the lack of selective ROMK inhibitors has hindered efforts to assess its therapeutic potential. In a high-throughput screen for small-molecule modulators of ROMK, we previously identified a potent and moderately selective ROMK antagonist, 7,13-bis(4-nitrobenzyl)-1,4,10-trioxa-7,13-diazacyclopentadecane (VU590), that also inhibits Kir7.1. Because ROMK and Kir7.1 are coexpressed in the nephron, VU590 is not a good probe of ROMK function in the kidney. Here we describe the development of the structurally related inhibitor 2,2'-oxybis(methylene)bis(5-nitro-1H-benzo[d]imidazole) (VU591), which is as potent as VU590 but is selective for ROMK over Kir7.1 and more than 65 other potential off-targets. VU591 seems to block the intracellular pore of the channel. The development of VU591 may enable studies to explore the viability of ROMK as a diuretic target.

Discovery, Characterization, and Structure-activity Relationships of an Inhibitor of Inward Rectifier Potassium (Kir) Channels with Preference for Kir2.3, Kir3.x, and Kir7.1

The inward rectifier family of potassium (Kir) channels is comprised of at least 16 family members exhibiting broad and often overlapping cellular, tissue, or organ distributions. The discovery of disease-causing mutations in humans and experiments on knockout mice has underscored the importance of Kir channels in physiology and in some cases raised questions about their potential as drug targets. However, the paucity of potent and selective small-molecule modulators targeting specific family members has with few exceptions mired efforts to understand their physiology and assess their therapeutic potential. A growing body of evidence suggests that G protein-coupled inward rectifier K (GIRK) channels of the Kir3.X subfamily may represent novel targets for the treatment of atrial fibrillation. In an effort to expand the molecular pharmacology of GIRK, we performed a thallium (Tl(+)) flux-based high-throughput screen of a Kir1.1 inhibitor library for modulators of GIRK. One compound, termed VU573, exhibited 10-fold selectivity for GIRK over Kir1.1 (IC(50) = 1.9 and 19 μM, respectively) and was therefore selected for further study. In electrophysiological experiments performed on Xenopus laevis oocytes and mammalian cells, VU573 inhibited Kir3.1/3.2 (neuronal GIRK) and Kir3.1/3.4 (cardiac GIRK) channels with equal potency and preferentially inhibited GIRK, Kir2.3, and Kir7.1 over Kir1.1 and Kir2.1.Tl(+) flux assays were established for Kir2.3 and the M125R pore mutant of Kir7.1 to support medicinal chemistry efforts to develop more potent and selective analogs for these channels. The structure-activity relationships of VU573 revealed few analogs with improved potency, however two compounds retained most of their activity toward GIRK and Kir2.3 and lost activity toward Kir7.1. We anticipate that the VU573 series will be useful for exploring the physiology and structure-function relationships of these Kir channels.

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