Molecular determinants of Kv7.1/KCNE1 channel inhibition by amitriptyline

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Amitriptyline (AMIT) is a compound widely prescribed for psychiatric and non-psychiatric conditions including depression, migraine, chronic pain, and anorexia. However, AMIT has been associated with risks of cardiac arrhythmia and sudden death since it can induce prolongation of the QT interval on the surface electrocardiogram and torsade de pointes ventricular arrhythmia. These complications have been attributed to the inhibition of the rapid delayed rectifier potassium current (IKr). The slow delayed rectifier potassium current (IKs) is the main repolarizing cardiac current when IKr is compromised and it has an important role in cardiac repolarization at fast heart rates induced by an elevated sympathetic tone. Therefore, we sought to characterize the effects of AMIT on Kv7.1/KCNE1 and homomeric Kv7.1 channels expressed in HEK-293H cells. Homomeric Kv7.1 and Kv7.1/KCNE1 channels were inhibited by AMIT in a concentration-dependent manner with IC50 values of 8.8 ± 2.1 μM and 2.5 ± 0.8 μM, respectively. This effect was voltage-independent for both homomeric Kv7.1 and Kv7.1/KCNE1 channels. Moreover, mutation of residues located on the P-loop and S6 domain along with molecular docking, suggest that T312, I337 and F340 are the most important molecular determinants for AMIT-Kv7.1 channel interaction. Our experimental findings and modeling suggest that AMIT preferentially blocks the open state of Kv7.1/KCNE1 channels by interacting with specific residues that were previously reported to be important for binding of other compounds, such as chromanol 293B and the benzodiazepine L7.

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