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Papers of the Week

2020 Mar 13

J Membr Biol

Molecular Mechanisms and Structural Basis of Retigabine Analogues in Regulating KCNQ2 Channel.


Shi S, Li J, Sun F, Chen Y, Pang C, Geng Y, Qi J, Guo S, Wang X, Zhang H, Zhan Y, An H
J Membr Biol. 2020 Mar 13.
PMID: 32170353.


KCNQ2 channel is one of the important members of potassium voltage-gated channel. KCNQ2 is closely related to neuronal excitatory diseases including epilepsy and neuropathic pain, and also acts as a drug target of the anti-epileptic drug, retigabine (RTG). In the past few decades, RTG has shown strong efficacy in the treatment of refractory epilepsy but has been withdrawn from clinical use due to its multiple adverse effects in clinical phase III trials. To overcome the drawbacks of RTG, several RTG analogues have been developed with different activation potency to KCNQ2. However, the detailed molecular mechanism by which these RTG analogues regulate KCNQ2 channel remains obscure. In this study, we used molecular simulations to analyse the interaction mode between the RTG analogues and KCNQ2, and to determine their molecular mechanism of action. Our data show that the van der Waals interactions, hydrophobic interactions, hydrogen bond, halogen bond, and π-π stacking work together to maintain the binding stability of the drugs in the binding pocket. On an atomic scale, the amide group in the carbamate and the amino group in the 2-aminophenyl moiety of RTG and RL648_81 are identified as key interaction sites. Our finding provides insight into the molecular mechanism by which KCNQ2 channels are regulated by RTG analogues. It also provides direct theoretical support for optimizing design of the KCNQ2 channel openers in the future, which will help treat refractory epilepsy caused by nerve excitability.