A novel role of the antitumor agent tricyclodecan-9-yl-xanthogenate as an open channel blocker of KCNQ1/KCNE1

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Tricyclodecan-9-yl-xanthogenate (D609) is widely known for its antitumor and antiviral properties via the inhibition of phosphatidylcholine-specific phospholipase C and sphingomyelin synthase. Previously, we found that chronic application of D609 suppressed the K+ channel, KCNQ1/KCNE1, more drastically than expected from its actions on the enzymes, suggesting a direct action of D609 on the channel. Here, we aimed to test this possibility by studying the affinity, specificity, and mechanisms of D609 on KCNQ1/KCNE1. The effect of D609 on KCNQ1/KCNE1 was studied using an in vitro expression system and in native cells, using electrophysiological techniques. We found that D609 rapidly and reversibly inhibited KCNQ1/KCNE1 channels expressed in human embryonic kidney 293 T (HEK293T) cells, in a concentration-dependent manner with a high affinity. D609 neither suppressed endogenous K+ currents in HEK293T cells, nor inhibited the sustained and transient K+ currents of mouse neostriatal neurons, but blocked a KCNQ1/KCNE1-like current in neostriatal neurons. D609 potently blocked IKs, the cardiac KCNQ1/KCNE1 channel, in guinea pig cardiac muscle cells. The action of D609 on KCNQ1/KCNE1 depended on the usage of the channel, suggesting that D609 binds to the channel in the open state. We identified D609 as a potent and specific open channel blocker of KCNQ1/KCNE1. Because KCNQ1/KCNE1 is highly expressed in the heart, the inner ear and the pancreas, D609, when used as an antitumor or antiviral drug, may affect the function of a number of organs in vivo even when used at low concentrations.

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