Calix[4]arene-based conical-shaped ligands for voltage-dependent potassium channels

Vera Martos, Sarah C. Bell, Eva Santos, Ehud Y. Isacoff, Dirk Trauner, Javier De Mendoza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Potassium channels are among the core functional elements of life because they underpin essential cellular functions including excitability, homeostasis, and secretion. We present here a series of multivalent calix[4]arene ligands that bind to the surface of voltage-dependent potassium channels (K v1.x) in a reversible manner. Molecular modeling correctly predicts the best candidates with a conical C4 symmetry for optimal binding, and the effects on channel function are assessed electrophysiologically. Reversible inhibition was observed, without noticeable damage of the oocytes, for tetraacylguanidinium or tetraarginine members of the series with small lower rim O-substituents. Apparent binding constants were in the low micromolar range and had Hill coefficients of 1, consistent with a single site of binding. Suppression of current amplitude was accompanied by a positive shift in the voltage dependence of gating and slowing of both voltage sensor motion and channel opening. These effects are in keeping with expectations for docking in the central pore and interaction with the pore domain "turret".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10482-10486
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jun 30 2009


  • Electrophysiology
  • Kv1.x channels
  • Ligand-protein surface interactions
  • Molecular recognition
  • Multivalent calix[4]arene ligands

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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