Interaction of local anesthetics with the K+channel pore domain
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Local anesthetics and related drugs block ionic currents of Na (+) , K (+) and Ca ( 2+) conducted across the cell membrane by voltage-dependent ion channels. Many of these drugs bind in the permeation pathway, occlude the pore and stop ion movement. However channel-blocking drugs have also been associated with decreased membrane stability of certain tetrameric K (+) channels, similar to the destabilization of channel function observed at low extracellular K (+) concentration. Such drug-dependent stability may result from electrostatic repulsion of K (+) from the selectivity filter by a cationic drug molecule bound in the central cavity of the channel. In this study we used the pore domain of the KcsA K (+) channel protein to test this hypothesis experimentally with a biochemical assay of tetramer stability and theoretically by computational simulation of local anesthetic docking to the central cavity. We find that two common local anesthetics, lidocaine and tetracaine, promote thermal dissociation of the KcsA tetramer in a K (+) -dependent fashion. Docking simulations of these drugs with open, open-inactivated and closed crystal structures of KcsA yield many energetically favorable drug-channel complexes characterized by nonbonded attraction to pore-lining residues and electrostatic repulsion of K (+) . The results suggest that binding of cationic drugs to the inner cavity can reduce tetramer stability of K (+) channels.
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