Targeting the voltage sensor of Kv7.2 voltage-gated K+ channels with a new gating-modifier

Asher Peretz, Liat Pell, Yana Gofman, Yoni Haitin, Liora Shamgar, Eti Patrich, Polina Kornilov, Orit Gourgy-Hacohen, Nir Ben-Tal, Bernard Attali*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The pore and gate regions of voltage-gated cation channels have been often targeted with drugs acting as channel modulators. In contrast, the voltage-sensing domain (VSD) was practically not exploited for therapeutic purposes, although it is the target of various toxins. We recently designed unique diphenylamine carboxylates that are powerful Kv7.2 voltage-gated K + channel openers or blockers. Here we show that a unique Kv7.2 channel opener, NH29, acts as a nontoxin gatingmodifier.NH29 increases Kv7.2 currents, thereby producing a hyperpolarizing shift of the activation curve and slowing both activation and deactivation kinetics. In neurons, the opener depresses evoked spike discharges. NH29 dampens hippocampal glutamate and GABA release, thereby inhibiting excitatory and inhibitory postsynaptic currents. Mutagenesis and modeling data suggest that in Kv7.2, NH29 docks to the external groove formed by the interface of helices S1, S2, and S4 in a way that stabilizes the interaction between two conserved charged residues in S2 and S4, known to interact electrostatically, in the open state of Kv channels. Results indicate that NH29 may operate via a voltage-sensor trapping mechanism similar to that suggested for scorpion and sea-anemone toxins. Reflecting the promiscuous nature of the VSD, NH29 is also a potent blocker of TRPV1 channels, a feature similar to that of tarantula toxins. Our data provide a structural framework for designing unique gating-modifiers targeted to the VSD of voltage-gated cation channels and used for the treatment of hyperexcitability disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15637-15642
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number35
StatePublished - 31 Aug 2010


  • Ion channel
  • KCNQ
  • M-current
  • Opener


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