skip to main content

Title: HIFs: New arginine mimic inhibitors of the Hv1 channel with improved VSD–ligand interactions

The human voltage-gated proton channel Hv1 is a drug target for cancer, ischemic stroke, and neuroinflammation. It resides on the plasma membrane and endocytic compartments of a variety of cell types, where it mediates outward proton movement and regulates the activity of NOX enzymes. Its voltage-sensing domain (VSD) contains a gated and proton-selective conduction pathway, which can be blocked by aromatic guanidine derivatives such as 2-guanidinobenzimidazole (2GBI). Mutation of Hv1 residue F150 to alanine (F150A) was previously found to increase 2GBI apparent binding affinity more than two orders of magnitude. Here, we explore the contribution of aromatic interactions between the inhibitor and the channel in the presence and absence of the F150A mutation, using a combination of electrophysiological recordings, classic mutagenesis, and site-specific incorporation of fluorinated phenylalanines via nonsense suppression methodology. Our data suggest that the increase in apparent binding affinity is due to a rearrangement of the binding site allowed by the smaller residue at position 150. We used this information to design new arginine mimics with improved affinity for the nonrearranged binding site of the wild-type channel. The new compounds, named “Hv1 Inhibitor Flexibles” (HIFs), consist of two “prongs,” an aminoimidazole ring, and an aromatic group connected by more » extended flexible linkers. Some HIF compounds display inhibitory properties that are superior to those of 2GBI, thus providing a promising scaffold for further development of high-affinity Hv1 inhibitors.

« less
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Journal of General Physiology
DOI PREFIX: 10.1085
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Voltage-gated sodium, potassium, and calcium channels consist of four voltage-sensing domains (VSDs) that surround a central pore domain and transition from a down state to an up state in response to membrane depolarization. While many types of drugs bind pore domains, the number of organic molecules known to bind VSDs is limited. The Hv1 voltage-gated proton channel is made of two VSDs and does not contain a pore domain, providing a simplified model for studying how small ligands interact with VSDs. Here, we describe a ligand, named HIF, that interacts with the Hv1 VSD in the up and down states. We find that HIF rapidly inhibits proton conduction in the up state by blocking the open channel, as previously described for 2-guanidinobenzimidazole and its derivatives. HIF, however, interacts with a site slowly accessible in the down state. Functional studies and MD simulations suggest that this interaction traps the compound in a narrow pocket lined with charged residues within the VSD intracellular vestibule, which results in slow recovery from inhibition. Our findings point to a “wrench in gears” mechanism whereby side chains within the binding pocket trap the compound as the teeth of interlocking gears. We propose that the use ofmore »screening strategies designed to target binding sites with slow accessibility, similar to the one identified here, could lead to the discovery of new ligands capable of interacting with VSDs of other voltage-gated ion channels in the down state.

    « less
  2. Abstract

    Hv1 is a voltage-gated proton channel whose main function is to facilitate extrusion of protons from the cell. The development of effective channel blockers for Hv1 can lead to new therapeutics for the treatment of maladies related to Hv1 dysfunction. Although the mechanism of proton permeation in Hv1 remains to be elucidated, a series of small molecules have been discovered to inhibit Hv1. Here, we computed relative binding free energies of a prototypical Hv1 blocker on a model of human Hv1 in an open state. We used alchemical free energy perturbation techniques based on atomistic molecular dynamics simulations. The results support our proposed open state model and shed light on the preferred tautomeric state of the channel blocker. This work lays the groundwork for future studies on adapting the blocker molecule for more effective inhibition of Hv1.

  3. Cleavage of aromatic carbon–chlorine bonds is critical for the degradation of toxic industrial compounds. Here, we solved the X-ray crystal structure of chlorothalonil dehalogenase (Chd) from Pseudomonas sp. CTN-3, with 15 of its N-terminal residues truncated (Chd T ), using single-wavelength anomalous dispersion refined to 1.96 Å resolution. Chd has low sequence identity (<15%) compared with all other proteins whose structures are currently available, and to the best of our knowledge, we present the first structure of a Zn(II)-dependent aromatic dehalogenase that does not require a coenzyme. Chd T forms a “head-to-tail” homodimer, formed between two α-helices from each monomer, with three Zn(II)-binding sites, two of which occupy the active sites, whereas the third anchors a structural site at the homodimer interface. The catalytic Zn(II) ions are solvent-accessible via a large hydrophobic (8.5 × 17.8 Å) opening to bulk solvent and two hydrophilic branched channels. Each active-site Zn(II) ion resides in a distorted trigonal bipyramid geometry with His 117 , His 257 , Asp 116 , Asn 216 , and a water/hydroxide as ligands. A conserved His residue, His 114 , is hydrogen-bonded to the Zn(II)-bound water/hydroxide and likely functions as the general acid-base. We examined substrate binding by dockingmore »chlorothalonil (2,4,5,6-tetrachloroisophtalonitrile, TPN) into the hydrophobic channel and observed that the most energetically favorable pose includes a TPN orientation that coordinates to the active-site Zn(II) ions via a CN and that maximizes a π–π interaction with Trp 227 . On the basis of these results, along with previously reported kinetics data, we propose a refined catalytic mechanism for Chd-mediated TPN dehalogenation.« less
  4. Microbial conversion of aromatic compounds is an emerging and promising strategy for valorization of the plant biopolymer lignin. A critical and often rate-limiting reaction in aromatic catabolism is O -aryl-demethylation of the abundant aromatic methoxy groups in lignin to form diols, which enables subsequent oxidative aromatic ring-opening. Recently, a cytochrome P450 system, GcoAB, was discovered to demethylate guaiacol (2-methoxyphenol), which can be produced from coniferyl alcohol-derived lignin, to form catechol. However, native GcoAB has minimal ability to demethylate syringol (2,6-dimethoxyphenol), the analogous compound that can be produced from sinapyl alcohol-derived lignin. Despite the abundance of sinapyl alcohol-based lignin in plants, no pathway for syringol catabolism has been reported to date. Here we used structure-guided protein engineering to enable microbial syringol utilization with GcoAB. Specifically, a phenylalanine residue (GcoA-F169) interferes with the binding of syringol in the active site, and on mutation to smaller amino acids, efficient syringol O -demethylation is achieved. Crystallography indicates that syringol adopts a productive binding pose in the variant, which molecular dynamics simulations trace to the elimination of steric clash between the highly flexible side chain of GcoA-F169 and the additional methoxy group of syringol. Finally, we demonstrate in vivo syringol turnover in Pseudomonas putida KT2440more »with the GcoA-F169A variant. Taken together, our findings highlight the significant potential and plasticity of cytochrome P450 aromatic O -demethylases in the biological conversion of lignin-derived aromatic compounds.« less
  5. The functionally diverse cyclic nucleotide binding domain (CNBD) superfamily of cation channels contains both depolarization-gated (e.g., metazoan EAG family K+ channels) and hyperpolarization-gated channels (e.g., metazoan HCN pacemaker cation channels and the plant K+ channel KAT1). In both types of CNBD channels, the S4 transmembrane helix of the voltage sensor domain (VSD) moves outward in response to depolarization. This movement opens depolarization-gated channels and closes hyperpolarization-gated channels. External divalent cations and protons prevent or slow movement of S4 by binding to a cluster of acidic charges on the S2 and S3 transmembrane domains of the VSD and therefore inhibit activation of EAG family channels. However, a similar divalent ion/proton binding pocket has not been described for hyperpolarization-gated CNBD family channels. We examined the effects of external Cd2+ and protons on Arabidopsisthaliana KAT1 expressed in Xenopus oocytes and found that these ions strongly potentiate voltage activation. Cd2+ at 300 µM depolarizes the V50 of KAT1 by 150 mV, while acidification from pH 7.0 to 4.0 depolarizes the V50 by 49 mV. Regulation of KAT1 by Cd2+ is state dependent and consistent with Cd2+ binding to an S4-down state of the VSD. Neutralization of a conserved acidic charge in the S2 helixmore »in KAT1 (D95N) eliminates Cd2+ and pH sensitivity. Conversely, introduction of acidic residues into KAT1 at additional S2 and S3 cluster positions that are charged in EAG family channels (N99D and Q149E in KAT1) decreases Cd2+ sensitivity and increases proton potentiation. These results suggest that KAT1, and presumably other hyperpolarization-gated plant CNBD channels, can open from an S4-down VSD conformation homologous to the divalent/proton-inhibited conformation of EAG family K+ channels.

    « less