Background and purpose: Transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily M member 7 (TRPM7) is a bifunctional protein comprising a TRP ion channel segment linked to an α-type protein kinase domain. TRPM7 is essential for proliferation and cell growth. Up-regulation of TRPM7 function is involved in anoxic neuronal death, cardiac fibrosis and tumour cell proliferation. The goal of this work was to identify non-toxic inhibitors of the TRPM7 channel and to assess the effect of blocking endogenous TRPM7 currents on the phenotype of living cells.
Experimental approach: We developed an aequorin bioluminescence-based assay of TRPM7 channel activity and performed a hypothesis-driven screen for inhibitors of the channel. The candidates identified were further assessed electrophysiologically and in cell biological experiments.
Key results: TRPM7 currents were inhibited by modulators of small conductance Ca²⁺ -activated K⁺ channels (K(Ca)2.1-2.3; SK) channels, including the antimalarial plant alkaloid quinine, CyPPA, dequalinium, NS8593, SKA31 and UCL 1684. The most potent compound NS8593 (IC₅₀ 1.6 µM) specifically targeted TRPM7 as compared with other TRP channels, interfered with Mg²⁺ -dependent regulation of TRPM7 channel and inhibited the motility of cultured cells. NS8593 exhibited full and reversible block of native TRPM7-like currents in HEK 293 cells, freshly isolated smooth muscle cells, primary podocytes and ventricular myocytes.
Conclusions and implications: This study reveals a tight overlap in the pharmacological profiles of TRPM7 and K(Ca)2.1-2.3 channels. NS8593 acts as a negative gating modulator of TRPM7 and is well-suited to study functional features and cellular roles of endogenous TRPM7.
© 2012 The Authors. British Journal of Pharmacology © 2012 The British Pharmacological Society.