A small synthetic molecule forms selective potassium channels to regulate cell membrane potential and blood vessel tone
In living cell membranes, K+ permeability is higher than that of other ions such as Na+ and Cl− owing to abundantly expressed K+ channels. Polarized membrane potential is mainly established by K+ outward flow because the K+ concentration in the intracellular side is much higher than that in the extracellular side. We have found that the small synthetic molecule 1 is capable of self-assembling into selective K+ channels, enhancing K+ permeability and hyperpolarizing liposome membrane potential. Interestingly, molecule 1 also functions as K+ channel hyperpolarizing living cell membrane potential and relaxing agonist-induced blood vessel contraction. Therefore, it may have the potential to become a lead compound for the treatment of human diseases associated with K+ channel dysfunction.