Towards a Structural View of Drug Binding to hERG K+ Channels
The human ether-a-go-go-related gene (hERG) K+ channel is of great medical and pharmaceutical relevance. Inherited mutations in hERG result in congenital long-QT syndrome which is associated with a markedly increased risk of cardiac arrhythmia and sudden death. hERG K+ channels are also remarkably susceptible to block by a wide range of drugs, which in turn can cause drug-induced long-QT syndrome and an increased risk of sudden death. The recent determination of the near-atomic resolution structure of the hERG K+ channel, using single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), provides tremendous insights into how these channels work. It also suggests a way forward in our quest to understand why these channels are so promiscuous with respect to drug binding.
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