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Baltimore Highlands, MD, United States

Ponte C.G.,Federal University of Rio de Janeiro | McManus O.B.,Merck And Co. | McManus O.B.,Johns Hopkins Ion Channel Center | Schmalhofer W.A.,Merck And Co. | And 14 more authors.
Molecular Pharmacology | Year: 2012

High-conductance calcium-activated potassium (Maxi-K) channels are present in smooth muscle where they regulate tone. Activation of Maxi-K channels causes smooth muscle hyperpolarization and shortening of action-potential duration, which would limit calcium entry through voltage-dependent calcium channels leading to relaxation. Although Maxi-K channels appear to indirectly mediate the relaxant effects of a number of agents, activators that bind directly to the channel with appropriate potency and pharmacological properties useful for proof-of-concept studies are not available. Most agents identified to date display significant polypharmacy that severely compromises interpretation of experimental data. In the present study, a high-throughput, functional, cell-based assay for identifying Maxi-K channel agonists was established and used to screen a large sample collection (>1.6 million compounds). On the basis of potency and selectivity, a family of tetrahydroquinolines was further characterized. Medicinal chemistry efforts afforded identification of compound X, from which its two enantiomers, Y and Z, were resolved. In in vitro assays, Z is more potent than Y as a channel activator. The same profile is observed in tissues where the ability of either agent to relax precontracted smooth muscles, via a potassium channel-dependent mechanism, is demonstrated. These data, taken together, suggest that direct activation of Maxi-K channels represents a mechanism to be explored for the potential treatment of a number of diseases associated with smooth muscle hyperexcitability. Copyright © 2012 The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Source

Flaherty D.P.,University of Kansas | Simpson D.S.,University of Kansas | Miller M.,Johns Hopkins University | Miller M.,Johns Hopkins Ion Channel Center | And 11 more authors.
Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters | Year: 2014

TASK-1 is a two-pore domain potassium channel that is important to modulating cell excitability, most notably in the context of neuronal pathways. In order to leverage TASK-1 for therapeutic benefit, its physiological role needs better characterization; however, designing selective inhibitors that avoid the closely related TASK-3 channel has been challenging. In this study, a series of bis-amide derived compounds were found to demonstrate improved TASK-1 selectivity over TASK-3 compared to reported inhibitors. Optimization of a marginally selective hit led to analog 35 which displays a TASK-1 IC 50 = 16 nM with 62-fold selectivity over TASK-3 in an orthogonal electrophysiology assay. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. Source

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