Discovery Opens Possibility of New Ion-Channel-Targeting Drugs

Schematic of domain structure of BK channel
Ion channels are attractive drug targets due to their importance in health and disease, but finding ways to target a specific ion channel selectively is a major challenge. Now, researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine and RMIT University in Australia have discovered that ion channels called BK channels have unique openings in their sides, which drug molecules may be able to access. The finding, published August 31, 2023 in Nature Chemical Biology, could lead to the development of selective drugs that target the BK channel to treat a wide range of diseases. The article is titled “Calcium-Gated Potassium Channel Blockade Via Membrane-Facing Fenestrations.”
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