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      Validation of a patch clamp screening protocol that simultaneously measures compound activity in multiple states of the voltage-gated sodium channel Nav1.2.

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          Abstract

          Hyperactivity of voltage-gated sodium channels underlies, at least in part, a range of pathological states, including pain and epilepsy. Selective blockers of these channels may offer effective treatment of such disorders. Currently employed methods to screen for sodium channel blockers, however, are inadequate to rationally identify mechanistically diverse blockers, limiting the potential range of indications that may be treated by such agents. Here, we describe an improved patch clamp screening assay that increases the mechanistic diversity of sodium channel blockers being identified. Using QPatch HT, a medium-throughput, automated patch clamp system, we tested three common sodium channel blockers (phenytoin, lidocaine, and tetrodotoxin) with distinct mechanistic profiles at Nav1.2. The single-voltage protocol employed in this assay simultaneously measured the compound activity in multiple states, including the slow inactivated state, of the channel. A long compound incubation period (10 s) was introduced during channel inactivation to increase the probability of identifying "slow binders." As such, phenytoin, which preferentially binds with slow kinetics to the fast inactivated state, exhibited significantly higher potency than that obtained from a brief exposure (100 ms) used in typical assays. This assay also successfully detected the use-dependent block of tetrodotoxin, a well-documented property of this molecule yet unobserved in typical patch clamp protocols. These results indicate that the assay described here can increase the likelihood of identification and mechanistic diversity of sodium channel blockers from a primary screen. It can also be used to efficiently guide the in vitro optimization of leads that retain the desired mechanistic properties.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Assay Drug Dev Technol
          Assay and drug development technologies
          Mary Ann Liebert Inc
          1557-8127
          1540-658X
          Dec 2011
          : 9
          : 6
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Drug Discovery, Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Spring House, Pennsylvania, USA. yliu10@its.jnj.com
          Article
          10.1089/adt.2011.0375
          21675872

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