Bright future of optical assays for ion channel drug discovery

Drug Discov Today. 2008 Jan;13(1-2):14-22. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2007.11.009. Epub 2008 Jan 3.


Ion channels are a key target class for drug discovery. The introduction of new and optimized optical probes, including fluorescent protein-based calcium sensors, luminescent photoproteins, voltage-sensitive probes and ion indicators, allows tackling a wide variety of ion channel targets. To make optical assays more physiologically relevant, tools to control the conformational states of ion channels via manipulation of the membrane potential have to be developed. There is no doubt that progress in optical methods will streamline the ion channel drug discovery process.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biosensing Techniques / methods
  • Calcium Channels / physiology
  • Drug Design*
  • Fluorescent Dyes / metabolism*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism
  • Ion Channels / chemistry
  • Ion Channels / genetics
  • Ion Channels / physiology*
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Nanotechnology
  • Optics and Photonics
  • Potassium Channels / physiology
  • Protein Conformation


  • Calcium Channels
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Ion Channels
  • Potassium Channels
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins