CL-705G: a novel chemical Kir6.2-specific K ATP channel opener
Background: K ATP channels have diverse roles, including regulation of insulin secretion and blood flow, and protection against biological stress responses and are excellent therapeutic targets. Different subclasses of K ATP channels exist in various tissue types due to the unique assemblies of specific pore-forming (Kir6.x) and accessory (SURx) subunits. The majority of pharmacological openers and blockers act by binding to SURx and are poorly selective against the various K ATP channel subclasses. Methods and Results: We used 3D models of the Kir6.2/SUR homotetramers based on existing cryo-EM structures of channels in both the open and closed states to identify a potential agonist binding pocket in a functionally critical area of the channel. Computational docking screens of this pocket with the Chembridge Core chemical library of 492,000 drug-like compounds yielded 15 top-ranked “hits”, which were tested for activity against K ATP channels using patch clamping and thallium (Tl + ) flux assays with a Kir6.2/SUR2A HEK-293 stable cell line. Several of the compounds increased Tl + fluxes. One of them (CL-705G) opened Kir6.2/SUR2A channels with a similar potency as pinacidil (EC 50 of 9 µM and 11 μM, respectively). Remarkably, compound CL-705G had no or minimal effects on other Kir channels, including Kir6.1/SUR2B, Kir2.1, or Kir3.1/Kir3.4 channels, or Na + currents of TE671 medulloblastoma cells. CL-705G activated Kir6.2Δ36 in the presence of SUR2A, but not when expressed by itself. CL-705G activated Kir6.2/SUR2A channels even after PIP 2 depletion. The compound has cardioprotective effects in a cellular model of pharmacological preconditioning. It also partially rescued activity of the gating-defective Kir6.2-R301C mutant that is associated with congenital hyperinsulinism. Conclusion: CL-705G is a new Kir6.2 opener with little cross-reactivity with other channels tested, including the structurally similar Kir6.1. This, to our knowledge, is the first Kir-specific channel opener.