Potassium channels: gene family, therapeutic relevance, high-throughput screening technologies and drug discovery.


Existing drugs that modulate ion channels represent a key class of pharmaceutical agents across many therapeutic areas and there is considerable further potential for potassium channel drug discovery. Potassium channels represent the largest and most diverse sub-group of ion channels and they play a central role in regulating the membrane potential of cells. Recent advances in genomics have greatly added to the number of these potential drug targets, but selecting a suitable potassium channel for drug discovery research is a key step. In particular, the potential therapeutic relevance of a potassium channel should be taken into account when selecting a target for screening. Potassium channel drug discovery is being driven by a need to identify lead compounds that can provide tractable starting points for medicinal chemistry. Furthermore, advances in laboratory automation have brought significant opportunities to increase screening throughput for potassium channel assays, but careful assay configuration to model drug-target interactions in a physiological manner is an essential consideration. Several potassium channel screening platforms are described in this review in order to provide some insight into the variety of formats available for screening, together with some of their inherent advantages and limitations. Particular emphasis is placed on the mechanistic basis of drug-target interaction and those aspects of structure/function that are of prime importance in potassium channel drug discovery.

Cite this paper

@article{Ford2002PotassiumCG, title={Potassium channels: gene family, therapeutic relevance, high-throughput screening technologies and drug discovery.}, author={John Ford and Edward B. Stevens and J. Mark Treherne and Jeremy C. L. Packer and Mark Bushfield}, journal={Progress in drug research. Fortschritte der Arzneimittelforschung. Progrès des recherches pharmaceutiques}, year={2002}, volume={58}, pages={133-68} }