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Mechanosensitive ion channels as drug targets.

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  • 1Center for Molecular Biophysics, 301 Cary Hall, SUNY, Buffalo, NY 14214, USA. philgott@buffalo.edu

Abstract

Mechanically sensitive ion channels (MSCs) are ubiquitous. They exist as two major types: those in specialized receptors that require fibrous proteins to transmit forces to the channel, and those in non-specialized tissues that respond to stress in the lipid bilayer. While few MSCs have been cloned, the existing structures show no sequence or structural homology--an example of convergent evolution. The physiological function of MSCs in many tissues is not known, but they probably arose from the need for cell volume regulation. Recently, a peptide called GsMTx4 was isolated from tarantula venom and is the first specific reagent for mechanosensitive channels. GsMTx4 is a approximately 4 kD peptide with a hydrophobic face opposite a positively charged face. It is active in the D and L forms, and appears non-toxic to mice. GsMTx4 has shown physiological effects on cationic MSCs in heart, smooth muscle, astrocytes, and skeletal muscle. By itself, GsMTx4 can serve as a lead compound or as a potential drug. Its availability opens clinical horizons in the diagnosis and treatment of pathologies including cardiac arrhythmia, muscular dystrophy and glioma.

PMID:
15379605
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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