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J Gen Physiol. 2013 Sep;142(3):315-24. doi: 10.1085/jgp.201311023. Epub 2013 Aug 12.

Antibody-guided photoablation of voltage-gated potassium currents.

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Department of Physiology and Membrane Biology, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


A family of 40 mammalian voltage-gated potassium (Kv) channels control membrane excitability in electrically excitable cells. The contribution of individual Kv channel types to electrophysiological signaling has been difficult to assign, as few selective inhibitors exist for individual Kv subunits. Guided by the exquisite selectivity of immune system interactions, we find potential for antibody conjugates as selective Kv inhibitors. Here, functionally benign anti-Kv channel monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) were chemically modified to facilitate photoablation of K currents. Antibodies were conjugated to porphyrin compounds that upon photostimulation inflict localized oxidative damage. Anti-Kv4.2 mAb-porphyrin conjugates facilitated photoablation of Kv4.2 currents. The degree of K current ablation was dependent on photon dose and conjugate concentration. Kv channel photoablation was selective for Kv4.2 over Kv4.3 or Kv2.1, yielding specificity not present in existing neurotoxins or other Kv channel inhibitors. We conclude that antibody-porphyrin conjugates are capable of selective photoablation of Kv currents. These findings demonstrate that subtype-specific mAbs that in themselves do not modulate ion channel function are capable of delivering functional payloads to specific ion channel targets.

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