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Papers of the Week

Papers: 27 Feb 2021 - 5 Mar 2021

Animal Studies, Human Studies, Pharmacology/Drug Development

2021 Feb 23

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A



Mambalgin-3 potentiates human acid-sensing ion channel 1b under mild to moderate acidosis: Implications as an analgesic lead.


Cristofori-Armstrong B, Budusan E, Rash LD
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Feb 23; 118(8).
PMID: 33602819.


Acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) are expressed in the nervous system, activated by acidosis, and implicated in pain pathways. Mambalgins are peptide inhibitors of ASIC1 and analgesic in rodents via inhibition of centrally expressed ASIC1a and peripheral ASIC1b. This activity has generated interest in mambalgins as potential therapeutics. However, most mechanism and structure-activity relationship work on mambalgins has focused on ASIC1a, and neglected the peripheral analgesic target ASIC1b. Here, we compare mambalgin potency and mechanism of action at heterologously expressed rat and human ASIC1 variants. Unlike the nanomolar inhibition at ASIC1a and rodent ASIC1b, we find mambalgin-3 only weakly inhibits human ASIC1b and ASIC1b/3 under severe acidosis, but potentiates currents under mild/moderate acidosis. Our data highlight the importance of understanding the activity of potential ASIC-targeting pharmaceuticals at human channels.