Development of a selective inhibitor for Kv1.1 channels prevalent in demyelinated nerves
Members of the voltage-gated K+ channel subfamily (Kv1), involved in regulating transmission between neurons or to muscles, are associated with human diseases and, thus, putative targets for neurotherapeutics. This applies especially to those containing Kv1.1 α subunits which become prevalent in murine demyelinated axons and appear abnormally at inter-nodes, underlying the perturbed propagation of nerve signals. To overcome this dysfunction, akin to the consequential debilitation in multiple sclerosis (MS), small inhibitors were sought that are selective for the culpable hyper-polarising K+ currents. Herein, we report a new semi-pod and – compound 3 – that was designed based on the modelling of its interactions with the extracellular pore region in a deduced Kv1.1 channel structure. After synthesis, purification, and structural characterisation, compound 3 was found to potently (IC50 = 8 µM) and selectively block Kv1.1 and 1.6 channels. The tested compound showed no apparent effect on native Nav and Cav channels expressed in F-11 cells. Compound 3 also extensively and selectively inhibited MS-related Kv1.1 homomer but not the brain native Kv1.1- or 1.6-containing channels. These collective findings highlight the therapeutic potential of compound 3 to block currents mediated by Kv1.1 channels enriched in demyelinated central neurons.