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Chem Biol Drug Des. 2014 Jan;83(1):1-26. doi: 10.1111/cbdd.12237.

Potassium channels: structures, diseases, and modulators.

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School of Life Sciences and Technology, Tongji University, Shanghai, 200092, China; School of Pharmacy, Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Dalian, Liaoning, 116600, China.


Potassium channels participate in many critical biological functions and play important roles in a variety of diseases. In recent years, many significant discoveries have been made which motivate us to review these achievements. The focus of our review is mainly on three aspects. Firstly, we try to summarize the latest developments in structure determinants and regulation mechanism of all types of potassium channels. Secondly, we review some diseases induced by or related to these channels. Thirdly, both qualitative and quantitative approaches are utilized to analyze structural features of modulators of potassium channels. Our analyses further prove that modulators possess some certain natural-product scaffolds. And pharmacokinetic parameters are important properties for organic molecules. Besides, with in silico methods, some features that can be used to differentiate modulators are derived. There is no doubt that all these studies on potassium channels as possible pharmaceutical targets will facilitate future translational research. All the strategies developed in this review could be extended to studies on other ion channels and proteins as well.


disease; modulator; potassium channel; structure

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