Sign Inversion in Photopharmacology: Incorporation of Cyclic Azobenzenes in Photoswitchable Potassium Channel Blockers and Openers

19 April 2019, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Photopharmacology relies on ligands that change their pharmacodynamics upon photoisomerization. Many of these ligands are azobenzenes that are thermodynamically more stable in their elongated transconfiguration, which predominates in the dark. Often, they are biologically active in this form and lose activity upon irradiation and photoisomerization to their cis-isomer. Recently, cyclic azobenzenes, so-called diazocines, have emerged. They are thermodynamically more stable in their bent cis­‑form than in their elongated trans-form. Incorporation of these switches into a variety of photopharmaceuticals could convert dark-active ligands into dark-inactive ligands, which is preferred in most biological applications. This “pharmacological sign-inversion” is demonstrated for a photochromic blocker of voltage-gated potassium channels, termed CAL, and a photochromic opener of G-protein-coupled inwardly rectifying potassium (GIRK) channels, termed CLOGO.


photoswitchable molecules
potassium channels
GIRK channels

Supplementary materials

Trads et al. Sign Inversion Supporting Info o4-18-19


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.