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2021 - Small molecule modulation of the Drosophila Slo channel elucidated by cryo-EM

icon sp96  SyncroPatch 384 Publication in Nature Communications (2021)

Authors:
Raisch T., Brockmann A., Ebbinghaus-Kintscher U., Freigang J., Gutbrod O., Kubicek J., Maertens B., Hofnagel O., Raunser S.

Journal:
Nature Communications (2021) doi:10.1038/s41467-021-27435-w


Abstract: 

Slowpoke (Slo) potassium channels display extraordinarily high conductance, are synergistically activated by a positive transmembrane potential and high intracellular Ca2+ concentrations and are important targets for insecticides and antiparasitic drugs. However, it is unknown how these compounds modulate ion translocation and whether there are insect-specific binding pockets. Here, we report structures of Drosophila Slo in the Ca2+-bound and Ca2+-free form and in complex with the fungal neurotoxin verruculogen and the anthelmintic drug emodepside. Whereas the architecture and gating mechanism of Slo channels are conserved, potential insect-specific binding pockets exist. Verruculogen inhibits K+ transport by blocking the Ca2+-induced activation signal and precludes K+ from entering the selectivity filter. Emodepside decreases the conductance by suboptimal K+ coordination and uncouples ion gating from Ca2+ and voltage sensing. Our results expand the mechanistic understanding of Slo regulation and lay the foundation for the rational design of regulators of Slo and other voltage-gated ion channels.


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