Identification of peptidomimetics as novel chemical probes modulating fibroblast growth factor 14 (FGF14) and voltage-gated sodium channel 1.6 (Nav1.6) protein-protein interactions

Zhiqing Liu, Paul Wadsworth, Aditya K. Singh, Haiying Chen, Pingyuan Wang, Oluwarotimi Folorunso, Pietro Scaduto, Syed R. Ali, Fernanda Laezza, Jia Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


The voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channel is the molecular determinant of action potential in neurons. Protein-protein interactions (PPI) between the intracellular Nav1.6 C-tail and its regulatory protein fibroblast growth factor 14 (FGF14) provide an ideal and largely untapped opportunity for development of neurochemical probes. Based on a previously identified peptide FLPK, mapped to the FGF14:FGF14 PPI interface, we have designed and synthesized a series of peptidomimetics with the intent of increasing clogP values and improving cell permeability relative to the parental lead peptide. In-cell screening using the split-luciferase complementation (LCA) assay identified ZL0177 (13) as the most potent inhibitor of the FGF14:Nav1.6 channel complex assembly with an apparent IC50 of 11 μM. Whole-cell patch-clamp recordings demonstrated that ZL0177 significantly reduced Nav1.6-mediated transient current density and induced a depolarizing shift of the channel voltage-dependence of activation. Docking studies revealed strong interactions between ZL0177 and Nav1.6, mediated by hydrogen bonds, cation-π interactions and hydrophobic contacts. All together these results suggest that ZL0177 retains some key features of FGF14-dependent modulation of Nav1.6 currents. Overall, ZL0177 provides a chemical scaffold for developing Nav channel modulators as pharmacological probes with therapeutic potential of interest for a broad range of CNS and PNS disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • Chemical probes
  • Fibroblast growth factor
  • Protein-protein interactions
  • Split-luciferase complementation assay
  • Voltage-gated sodium channels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry

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