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ACS chemical neuroscience

Development and validation of a thallium flux-based functional assay for the sodium channel NaV1.7 and its utility for lead discovery and compound profiling.


PMID 25879403

Abstract

Ion channels are critical for life, and they are targets of numerous drugs. The sequencing of the human genome has revealed the existence of hundreds of different ion channel subunits capable of forming thousands of ion channels. In the face of this diversity, we only have a few selective small-molecule tools to aid in our understanding of the role specific ion channels in physiology which may in turn help illuminate their therapeutic potential. Although the advent of automated electrophysiology has increased the rate at which we can screen for and characterize ion channel modulators, the technique's high per-measurement cost and moderate throughput compared to other high-throughput screening approaches limit its utility for large-scale high-throughput screening. Therefore, lower cost, more rapid techniques are needed. While ion channel types capable of fluxing calcium are well-served by low cost, very high-throughput fluorescence-based assays, other channel types such as sodium channels remain underserved by present functional assay techniques. In order to address this shortcoming, we have developed a thallium flux-based assay for sodium channels using the NaV1.7 channel as a model target. We show that the assay is able to rapidly and cost-effectively identify NaV1.7 inhibitors thus providing a new method useful for the discovery and profiling of sodium channel modulators.

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