Several important new findings have furthered the development of voltage-gated and calcium-activated potassium channel pharmacology. The molecular constituents of several members of these large ion channel families were identified. Small-molecule modulators of some of these channels were reported, including correolide, the first potent, small-molecule, natural product inhibitor of the Shaker family of voltage-gated potassium channels to be disclosed. The initial crystal structure of a bacterial potassium channel was determined; this work gives a physical basis for understanding the mechanisms of ion selectivity and ion conduction. With the recent molecular characterization of a potassium channel structure and the discovery of new templates for channel modulatory agents, the ability to rationally identify and develop potassium channel agonists and antagonists may become a reality in the near future.
Current Opinion in Chemical Biology – Elsevier
Published: Aug 1, 1999
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