Dynamic Subunit Stoichiometry Confers a Progressive Continuum of Pharmacological Sensitivity by KCNQ Potassium Channels.

Dynamic subunit stoichiometry confers a progressive continuum of pharmacological sensitivity by KCNQ potassium channels.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 May 6;
Yu H, Lin Z, Mattmann ME, Zou B, Terrenoire C, Zhang H, Wu M, McManus OB, Kass RS, Lindsley CW, Hopkins CR, Li M

Voltage-gated KCNQ1 (Kv7.1) potassium channels are expressed abundantly in heart but they are also found in multiple other tissues. Differential coassembly with single transmembrane KCNE beta subunits in different cell types gives rise to a variety of biophysical properties, hence endowing distinct physiological roles for KCNQ1-KCNEx complexes. Mutations in either KCNQ1 or KCNE1 genes result in diseases in brain, heart, and the respiratory system. In addition to complexities arising from existence of five KCNE subunits, KCNE1 to KCNE5, recent studies in heterologous systems suggest unorthodox stoichiometric dynamics in subunit assembly is dependent on KCNE expression levels. The resultant KCNQ1-KCNE channel complexes may have a range of zero to two or even up to four KCNE subunits coassembling per KCNQ1 tetramer. These findings underscore the need to assess the selectivity of small-molecule KCNQ1 modulators on these different assemblies. Here we report a unique small-molecule gating modulator, ML277, that potentiates both homomultimeric KCNQ1 channels and unsaturated heteromultimeric (KCNQ1)4(KCNE1)n (n < 4) channels. Progressive increase of KCNE1 or KCNE3 expression reduces efficacy of ML277 and eventually abolishes ML277-mediated augmentation. In cardiomyocytes, the slowly activating delayed rectifier potassium current, or IKs, is believed to be a heteromultimeric combination of KCNQ1 and KCNE1, but it is not entirely clear whether IKs is mediated by KCNE-saturated KCNQ1 channels or by channels with intermediate stoichiometries. We found ML277 effectively augments IKs current of cultured human cardiomyocytes and shortens action potential duration. These data indicate that unsaturated heteromultimeric (KCNQ1)4(KCNE1)n channels are present as components of IKs and are pharmacologically distinct from KCNE-saturated KCNQ1-KCNE1 channels. HubMed – drug


Phosphorylation-dependent conformational changes and domain rearrangements in Staphylococcus aureus VraR activation.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 May 6;
Leonard PG, Golemi-Kotra D, Stock AM

Staphylococcus aureus VraR, a vancomycin-resistance-associated response regulator, activates a cell-wall-stress stimulon in response to antibiotics that inhibit cell wall formation. X-ray crystal structures of VraR in both unphosphorylated and beryllofluoride-activated states have been determined, revealing a mechanism of phosphorylation-induced dimerization that features a deep hydrophobic pocket at the center of the receiver domain interface. Unphosphorylated VraR exists in a closed conformation that inhibits dimer formation. Phosphorylation at the active site promotes conformational changes that are propagated throughout the receiver domain, promoting the opening of a hydrophobic pocket that is essential for homodimer formation and enhanced DNA-binding activity. This prominent feature in the VraR dimer can potentially be exploited for the development of novel therapeutics to counteract antibiotic resistance in this important pathogen. HubMed – drug


Medicare essential: an option to promote better care and curb spending growth.

Health Aff (Millwood). 2013 May; 32(5): 900-9
Davis K, Schoen C, Guterman S

Medicare’s core benefit design reflects private insurance as of 1965, with separate coverage for hospital and physician services (and now prescription drugs) and no protection against catastrophic costs. Modernizing Medicare’s benefit design to offer comprehensive benefits, financial protection, and incentives to choose high-value care could improve coverage and lower beneficiary costs. We describe a new option we call Medicare Essential, which would combine Medicare’s hospital, physician, and prescription drug coverage into an integrated benefit with an annual limit on out-of-pocket expenses for covered benefits. Cost sharing would be reduced for enrollees who seek care from high-quality low-cost providers. Out-of-pocket savings from lower premiums and health care costs for a Medicare Essential enrollee could be $ 173 per month, compared to what an enrollee would pay with traditional Medicare, prescription drug and private supplemental coverage. Financed by a budget-neutral premium, we estimate that this new plan choice could reduce total health spending relative to current projections by $ 180¬†billion and reduce employer retiree spending by $ 90¬†billion during 2014-23. Given its potential, such an alternative should be a part of the debate over the future of Medicare. HubMed – drug