Physical basis of specificity and delayed binding of a subtype selective sodium channel inhibitor

Ben Corry*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    Nerve and muscle signalling is controlled by voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channels which are the targets of local anesthetics, anti-epileptics and anti-arrythmics. Current medications do not selectively target specific types of Nav found in the body, but compounds that do so have the potential to be breakthrough treatments for chronic pain, epilepsy and other neuronal disorders. We use long computer simulations totaling more than 26 μs to show how a promising lead compound can target one Nav implicated in pain perception and specific channels found in bacteria, and accurately predict the affinity of the compound to different channel types. Most importantly, we provide two explanations for the slow kinetics of this class of compound that limits their therapeutic utility. Firstly, the negative charge on the compound is essential for high affinity binding but is also responsible for energetic barriers that slow binding. Secondly, the compound has to undergo a conformational reorientation during the binding process. This knowledge aids the design of compounds affecting specific eukaryotic and bacterial channels and suggests routes for future drug development.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1356
    JournalScientific Reports
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018


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