How do aminoadamantanes block the influenza M2 channel, and how does resistance develop?

Hadas Leonov, Peleg Astrahan, Miriam Krugliak, Isaiah T. Arkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


The interactions between channels and their cognate blockers are at the heart of numerous biomedical phenomena. Herein, we unravel one particularly important example bearing direct pharmaceutical relevance: the blockage mechanism of the influenza M2 channel by the anti-flu amino-adamantyls (amantadine and rimantadine) and how the channel and, consequently, the virus develop resistance against them. Using both computational analyses and experimental verification, we find that amino-adamantyls inhibit M2's H + channel activity by electrostatic hindrance due to their positively charged amino group. In contrast, the hydrophobic adamantyl moiety on its own does not impact conductivity. Additionally, we were able to uncover how mutations in M2 are capable of retaining drug binding on the one hand yet rendering the protein and the mutated virus resistant to amino-adamantyls on the other hand. We show that the mutated, drug-resistant protein has a larger binding pocket for the drug. Hence, despite binding the channel, the drug remains sufficiently mobile so as not to exert a H+-blocking positive electrostatic hindrance. Such insight into the blocking mechanism of amino-adamantyls, and resistance thereof, may aid in the design of next-generation anti-flu agents.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)9903-9911
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number25
StatePublished - 29 Jun 2011


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