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Assay Drug Dev Technol. 2006 Aug;4(4):443-50.

Rb+ efflux through functional activation of cardiac KCNQ1/minK channels by the benzodiazepine R-L3 (L-364,373).

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  • 1Discovery Neuroscience, Wyeth Research, Princeton, NJ 08543, USA.


The slow delayed rectifier K+ current, Iks, encoded by KCNQ1 (KvLQT1)/KCNE1 (mink) genes, contributes to cardiac action potential repolarization and determines the heartbeat rate. Mutations in either KCNQ1 or KCNE1 that reduce Iks cause long-QT syndrome (LQTS), a disorder of ventricular repolarization that results in cardiac arrhythmia and sudden death. A well-recognized potential treatment for LQTS caused by reduction of Iks is to enhance functional activation of cardiac KCNQ1/KCNE1 channels. In the present study, we generated a stable Chinese hamster ovary cell line that expresses KCNQ1/KCNE1 channels confirmed by electrophysiology. Using a pharmacological tool compound R-L3 (L-364,373 [(3-R)-1,3-dihydro-5-(2-fluorophenyl)-3-(1H-indol- 3-ylmethyl)-1-methyl-2H-1,4-benzodiazepin-2-one]), which activates KCNQ1/mink channels, we then developed and validated a non-radioactive rubidium (Rb+) efflux assay that directly measures the functional activity of KCNQ1/KCNE1 channels by atomic absorption spectroscopy. Our results show that the validated Rb+ efflux assay can be used for screening of KCNQ1/KCNE1 openers that potentially treat LQTS in both inherited and acquired forms. In addition, the assay also can be used for evaluation of possible long-QT liability during cardiac selectivity of new chemical entities.

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