Identification of Potential Modulators of a Pathogenic G Protein-Gated Inwardly Rectifying K+ Channel 4 Mutant: In Silico Investigation in the Context of Drug Discovery for Hypertension

Eleni Pitsillou, Alexander N.O. Logothetis, Julia J. Liang, Assam El-Osta, Andrew Hung, Asmaa S. AbuMaziad, Tom C. Karagiannis

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Genetic abnormalities have been associated with primary aldosteronism, a major cause of secondary hypertension. This includes mutations in the KCNJ5 gene, which encodes G protein-gated inwardly rectifying K+ channel 4 (GIRK4). For example, the substitution of glycine with glutamic acid gives rise to the pathogenic GIRK4G151E mutation, which alters channel selectivity, making it more permeable to Na+ and Ca2+. While tertiapin and tertiapin-Q are well-known peptide inhibitors of the GIRK4WT channel, clinically, there is a need for the development of selective modulators of mutated channels, including GIRK4G151E. Using in silico methods, including homology modeling, protein–peptide docking, ligand-binding site prediction, and molecular docking, we aimed to explore potential modulators of GIRK4WT and GIRK4G151E. Firstly, protein–peptide docking was performed to characterize the binding site of tertiapin and its derivative to the GIRK4 channels. In accordance with previous studies, the peptide inhibitors preferentially bind to the GIRK4WT channel selectivity filter compared to GIRK4G151E. A ligand-binding site analysis was subsequently performed, resulting in the identification of two potential regions of interest: the central cavity and G-loop gate. Utilizing curated chemical libraries, we screened over 700 small molecules against the central cavity of the GIRK4 channels. Flavonoids, including luteolin-7-O-rutinoside and rutin, and the macrolides rapamycin and troleandomycin bound strongly to the GIRK4 channels. Similarly, xanthophylls, particularly luteoxanthin, bound to the central cavity with a strong preference towards the mutated GIRK4G151E channel compared to GIRK4WT. Overall, our findings suggest potential lead compounds for further investigation, particularly luteoxanthin, that may selectively modulate GIRK4 channels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7946
JournalMolecules
Volume28
Issue number24
ISSN1420-3049
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Keywords

  • GIRK4
  • hypertension
  • inwardly rectifying K channels
  • pathogenic mutations
  • primary aldosteronism

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