Molecular modeling of benzothiazepine binding in the L-type calcium channel

J Biol Chem. 2008 Jun 20;283(25):17594-604. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M800141200. Epub 2008 Apr 8.


Benz(othi)azepine (BTZ) derivatives constitute one of three major classes of L-type Ca(2+) channel ligands. Despite intensive experimental studies, no three-dimensional model of BTZ binding is available. Here we have built KvAP- and KcsA-based models of the Ca(v)1.2 pore domain in the open and closed states and used multiple Monte Carlo minimizations to dock representative ligands. In our open channel model, key functional groups of BTZs interact with BTZ-sensing residues, which were identified in previous mutational experiments. The bulky tricyclic moiety occupies interface between domains III and IV, while the ammonium group protrudes into the inner pore, where it is stabilized by nucleophilic C-ends of the pore helices. In the closed channel model, contacts with several ligand-sensing residues in the inner helices are lost, which weakens ligand-channel interactions. An important feature of the ligand-binding mode in both open and closed channels is an interaction between the BTZ carbonyl group and a Ca(2+) ion chelated by the selectivity filter glutamates in domains III and IV. In the absence of Ca(2+), the tricyclic BTZ moiety remains in the domain interface, while the ammonium group directly interacts with a glutamate residue in the selectivity filter. Our model suggests that the Ca(2+) potentiation involves a direct electrostatic interaction between aCa(2+) ion and the ligand rather than an allosteric mechanism. Energy profiles indicate that BTZs can reach the binding site from the domain interface, whereas access through the open activation gate is unlikely, because reorientation of the bulky molecule in the pore is hindered.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allosteric Site
  • Benzazepines / pharmacology
  • Binding Sites
  • Calcium / chemistry
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium Channels, L-Type / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Ions
  • Ligands
  • Models, Molecular
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Static Electricity
  • Thiazepines / chemistry*
  • Thiazepines / pharmacology


  • 1,5-benzothiazepine
  • Benzazepines
  • Calcium Channels, L-Type
  • Ions
  • Ligands
  • Thiazepines
  • SQ 32910
  • Calcium