Drug trapping in hERG K+ channels: (not) a matter of drug size?†
Inhibition of hERG K+ channels by structurally diverse drugs prolongs the ventricular action potential and increases the risk of torsade de pointes arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. The capture of drugs behind closed channel gates, so-called drug trapping, is suggested to harbor an increased pro-arrhythmic risk. In this study, the trapping mechanisms of a trapped hERG blocker propafenone and a bulky derivative (MW: 647.24 g mol−1) were studied by making use of electrophysiological measurements in combination with molecular dynamics simulations. Our study suggests that the hERG cavity is able to accommodate very bulky compounds without disturbing gate closure.