Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Structural Basis of Drug Discovery Targeting SK Channels for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Document Type

Chapman access only poster or presentation

Publication Date

Spring 5-14-2015

Faculty Advisor(s)

Miao Zhang


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, (ALS) is a devastating progressive neuromuscular disease. Neurodegeneration of motor neurons in the motor cortex and the brainstem/spinal cord causes the patient with ALS to slowly lose motor function and eventually completely paralyzed. It is known that hyperexcitability has an inverse correlation with the survival of ALS patients. Positive modulation of potassium channels reduces hyperexcitability and improves survival of motor neurons. Therefore it can be assumed that by reducing hyperexcitability, progression of ALS in patients can be delayed. Riluzole is the only FDA approved drug used to treat ALS. Small conductance calcium activated potassium (SK) channels are among the drug targets of riluzole. We determined the crystal structure of riluzole and its binding pocket in SK2 chanel. By analyzing the specifics of the interaction of riluzole with SK channels, increase in efficacy and better treatment in ALS patients can be acquired.


Presented at the Spring 2015 Student Research Day at Chapman University.

Access to this poster is restricted to Chapman University students, faculty, staff, and affiliates.

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