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Beeton C.,Baylor College of Medicine | Pennington M.W.,Peptides International | Norton R.S.,Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Inflammation and Allergy - Drug Targets | Year: 2011

CCR7- effector memory T (T EM) lymphocytes are involved in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes mellitus and rheumatoid arthritis. These cells express Kv1.3 potassium channels that play a major role in their activation. Blocking these channels preferentially inhibits the activation of CCR7- TEM cells, with little or no effects on CCR7 + naïve and central memory T cells. Blockers of lymphocyte Kv1.3 channels therefore show considerable potential as therapeutics for autoimmune diseases. ShK, a 35-residue polypeptide isolated from the Caribbean sea anemone Stichodactyla helianthus, blocks Kv1.3 channels at picomolar concentrations. Although ShK was effective in treating rats with delayed type hypersensitivity and a model of multiple sclerosis, it lacks selectivity for Kv1.3 channels over closely-related Kv1 channels. Extensive mutagenesis studies combined with elucidation of the structure of ShK led to models of ShK docked with the channel. This knowledge was valuable in the development of new ShK analogs with improved selectivity and increasing stability, which have proven efficacious in preventing and/or treating animal models of delayed type hypersensitivity, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis without inducing generalized immunosuppression. They are currently undergoing further evaluation as potential immunomodulators for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. © 2011 Bentham Science Publishers.

Koshy S.,Baylor College of Medicine | Wu D.,Baylor College of Medicine | Hu X.,Baylor College of Medicine | Tajhya R.B.,Baylor College of Medicine | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Natural killer (NK) cells are large granular lymphocytes that participate in both innate and adaptive immune responses against tumors and pathogens. They are also involved in other conditions, including organ rejection, graft-versus-host disease, recurrent spontaneous abortions, and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. We demonstrate that human NK cells express the potassium channels Kv1.3 and KCa3.1. Expression of these channels does not vary with expression levels of maturation markers but varies between adherent and non-adherent NK cell subpopulations. Upon activation by mitogens or tumor cells, adherent NK (A-NK) cells preferentially up-regulate KCa3.1 and non-adherent (NA-NK) cells preferentially up-regulate Kv1.3. Consistent with this different phenotype, A-NK and NA-NK do not display the same sensitivity to the selective KCa3.1 blockers TRAM-34 and NS6180 and to the selective Kv1.3 blockers ShK-186 and PAP-1 in functional assays. Kv1.3 block inhibits the proliferation and degranulation of NA-NK cells with minimal effects on A-NK cells. In contrast, blocking KCa3.1 increases the degranulation and cytotoxicity of A-NK cells, but not of NA-NK cells. TRAM-34, however, does not affect their ability to form conjugates with target tumor cells, to migrate, or to express chemokine receptors. TRAM-34 and NS6180 also increase the proliferation of both A-NK and NA-NK cells. This results in a TRAM-34-induced increased ability of A-NK cells to reduce in vivo tumor growth. Taken together, our results suggest that targeting KCa3.1 on NK cells with selective blockers may be beneficial in cancer immunotherapy. © 2013 Koshy et al.

Peng Y.,Sun Yat Sen University | Lu K.,Sun Yat Sen University | Li Z.,Sun Yat Sen University | Zhao Y.,Tongji University | And 8 more authors.
Neuro-Oncology | Year: 2014

Background. Tumors affecting the head, neck, and brain account for significant morbidity and mortality. The curative efficacy of radiotherapy for these tumors is well established, but radiation carries a significant risk of neurologic injury. So far, neuroprotective therapies for radiation-induced brain injury are still limited. In this study we demonstrate that Stichodactyla helianthus (ShK)-170, a specific inhibitor of the voltage-gated potassium (Kv)1.3 channel, protected mice from radiation-induced brain injury. Methods. Mice were treated with ShK-170 for 3 days immediately after brain irradiation. Radiation-induced brain injury was assessed by MRI scans and a Morris water maze. Pathophysiological change of the brain was measured by immunofluorescence. Gene and protein expressions of Kv1.3 and inflammatory factors were measured by quantitative real-time PCR, reverse transcription PCR, ELISA assay, and western blot analyses. Kv currents were recorded in the whole-cell configuration of the patch-clamp technique. Results. Radiation increased Kv1.3 mRNA and protein expression in microglia. Genetic silencing of Kv1.3 by specific short interference RNAs or pharmacological blockade with ShK-170 suppressed radiation-induced production of the proinflammatory factors interleukin-6, cyclooxygenase-2, and tumor necrosis factor-α by microglia. ShK-170 also inhibited neurotoxicity mediated by radiation-activated microglia and promoted neurogenesis by increasing the proliferation of neural progenitor cells. Conclusions. The therapeutic effect of ShK-170 is mediated by suppression of microglial activation and microglia-mediated neurotoxicity and enhanced neurorestoration by promoting proliferation of neural progenitor cells. © 2013 © The Author(s) 2013.

Chang S.C.,Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences | Huq R.,Baylor College of Medicine | Chhabra S.,Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences | Beeton C.,Baylor College of Medicine | And 3 more authors.
FEBS Journal | Year: 2015

The voltage-gated potassium channel Kv1.3 is an important target for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and asthma. Blockade of Kv1.3 by the sea anemone peptide K+-channel toxin from Stichodactyla helianthus (ShK) inhibits the proliferation of effector memory T lymphocytes and ameliorates autoimmune diseases in animal models. However, the lack of selectivity of ShK for Kv1.3 over the Kv1.1 subtype has driven a search for Kv1.3-selective analogues. In the present study, we describe N-terminally extended analogues of ShK that contain a negatively-charged Glu, designed to mimic the phosphonate adduct in earlier Kv1.3-selective analogues, and consist entirely of common protein amino acids. Molecular dynamics simulations indicated that a Trp residue at position [-3] of the tetrapeptide extension could form stable interactions with Pro377 of Kv1.3 and best discriminates between Kv1.3 and Kv1.1. This led to the development of ShK with an N-terminal Glu-Trp-Ser-Ser extension ([EWSS]ShK), which inhibits Kv1.3 with an IC50 of 34 pm and is 158-fold selective for Kv1.3 over Kv1.1. In addition, [EWSS]ShK is more than 2900-fold more selective for Kv1.3 over Kv1.2 and KCa3.1 channels. As a highly Kv1.3-selective analogue of ShK based entirely on protein amino acids, which can be produced by recombinant expression, this peptide is a valuable addition to the complement of therapeutic candidates for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. The voltage-gated potassium channel Kv1.3 is an important target for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and asthma. Amongst the most potent inhibitors of Kv1.3 is the sea anemone toxin ShK - a peptide that blocks Kv1.3, inhibiting the proliferation of effector memory T lymphocytes. In this study, Chang and colleagues used computational techniques to design N-terminally extended analogues of ShK based on their structure-activity relationships with Kv1.3. One analogue, [EWSS]ShK, inhibits Kv1.3 with an IC50 of 34 pm, is highly selective for Kv1.3 over Kv1.1, Kv1.2 and KCa3.1 channels, and is therefore a potential candidate for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. © 2015 FEBS.

Rashid M.H.,University of Sydney | Heinzelmann G.,University of Sydney | Huq R.,Baylor College of Medicine | Tajhya R.B.,Baylor College of Medicine | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

The voltage-gated potassium channel Kv1.3 is a well-established target for treatment of autoimmune diseases. ShK peptide from a sea anemone is one of the most potent blockers of Kv1.3 but its application as a therapeutic agent for autoimmune diseases is limited by its lack of selectivity against other Kv channels, in particular Kv1.1. Accurate models of Kv1.x-ShK complexes suggest that specific charge mutations on ShK could considerably enhance its specificity for Kv1.3. Here we evaluate the K18A mutation on ShK, and calculate the change in binding free energy associated with this mutation using the path-independent free energy perturbation and thermodynamic integration methods, with a novel implementation that avoids convergence problems. To check the accuracy of the results, the binding free energy differences were also determined from path-dependent potential of mean force calculations. The two methods yield consistent results for the K18A mutation in ShK and predict a 2 kcal/mol gain in Kv1.3/Kv1.1 selectivity free energy relative to wild-type peptide. Functional assays confirm the predicted selectivity gain for ShK[K18A] and suggest that it will be a valuable lead in the development of therapeutics for autoimmune diseases. © 2013 Rashid et al.

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