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Assay Drug Dev Technol. 2006 Feb;4(1):57-64.

Efficient characterization of use-dependent ion channel blockers by real-time monitoring of channel state.

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AVIVA Biosciences Corporation, San Diego, CA 92121, USA.


Ion channels are important therapeutic targets for the treatment of a variety of conditions. Among ion channel blocking agents, use-dependent inhibitors can be especially effective therapeutic agents. Use dependence allows the selective inhibition of hyperactive neurons or tachycardiac myocytes, while minimizing effects on cells with normal activity. For voltage-gated channels, the use-dependent compounds typically bind to and inhibit a particular kinetic state that is induced by specific voltage changes. Drug discovery programs that focus on this class of drugs need to rank the use dependence of the compounds. A meaningful comparison among different molecules requires voltage clamp-based assays with continuous voltage control and compensation for or elimination of electrode drift-related effects. A method was developed based on automated electrophysiology in which voltage and frequency dependence of voltage-gated ion channel blockers can be compared using a protocol in which voltage error is compensated for in real time.

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