Polyamines cause inward rectification of Kir K+ channels by blocking deep within the channel pore. We investigated structural constraints of polyamine block of strongly rectifying mutant KATP channels (Kir6.2[L164C,N160D,C166S] + SUR1). We studied three groups of polyamine analogs: 1) conformationally restricted linear tetra-amines with a cycloalkyl or alkene group between the second and third amines (CGC-11047, CGC-11093, CGC-11099, and CGC-11098), 2) conformationally restricted linear deca-amines with a cycloalkyl or alkene group between the fifth and sixth amines (CGC-11150, CGC-11179, and CGC-11241), and 3) cyclic tetra-amines (CGC-11174, CGC-11197, CGC-11199, and CGC-11254). All linear analogs cause a voltage-dependent block similar to that of spermine, but slightly weaker (at 1 μM, V1/2 for spermine block = -10 ± 1 mV, Z = 2.9 ± 0.1, n = 19; V 1/2 for polyamine analogs varies from -7 to + 10 mV, Z = 2.6 -3.9). These data indicate tolerance for conformational restriction and an upper limit to the voltage dependence of the blocking process. There was no voltage-dependent block by the cyclic compounds; instead, they induce irreversible rundown of the current. Structural models of Kir channels suggest that a narrow entry at the top of the cytoplasmic pore may exclude cyclic analogs from the inner cavity, thereby explaining the structure-activity relationship that we observe.