Angewandte Chemie, 2011, DOI: 10.1002/anie.201103236, Volume 50, Issue 51, pages 12156–12182, published on 16.12.2011
Photochromic channel blockers provide a conceptually simple and convenient way to modulate neuronal activity with light. We have recently described a family of azobenzenes that function as tonic blockers of Kv channels but require UV-A light to unblock and need to be actively switched by toggling between two different wavelengths. We now introduce red-shifted compounds that fully operate in the visible region of the spectrum and quickly turn themselves off in the dark. Furthermore, we have developed a version that does not block effectively in the dark-adapted state, can be switched to a blocking state with blue light, and reverts to the inactive state automatically. Photochromic blockers of this type could be useful for the photopharmacological control of neuronal activity under mild conditions.