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Revealing molecular determinants of hERG blocker and activator binding

Dickson, Callum and Velez-Vega, Camilo and Duca, Jose (2019) Revealing molecular determinants of hERG blocker and activator binding. Journal of chemical information and modeling. ISSN 1549960X

Abstract

The Kv11.1 potassium channel, encoded by the human ether-a-go-go-related gene (hERG), plays an essential role in the cardiac action potential. hERG blockade by small molecules can induce "torsade de pointes" arrhythmias and sudden death; as such, it is an important off-target to avoid during drug discovery. Recently, a cryo-EM structure of the open channel state of hERG was reported, opening the door to in silico docking analyses and interpretation of hERG structure-activity relationships, with a view to avoiding blocking activity. Despite this, docking directly to this cryo-EM structure has been reported to yield binding modes that are unable to explain known mutagenesis data. In this work, we use molecular dynamics simulations to sample a range of channel conformations and run ensemble docking campaigns at the known hERG binding site below the selectivity filter, composed of the central cavity and the four deep hydrophobic pockets. We identify a hERG conformational state allowing discrimination of blockers vs non-blockers from docking; furthermore, the binding pocket agrees with mutagenesis data and blocker binding modes fit the hERG blocker pharmacophore. We then use the same protocol to identify a binding pocket in the hERG channel pore for hERG activators, again agreeing with reported mutagenesis. Our approach may be useful in drug discovery campaigns to prioritize candidate compounds based on hERG liability via virtual docking screens.

Item Type: Article
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2020 00:45
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2020 00:45
URI: https://oak.novartis.com/id/eprint/40647

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