Voltage-gated Nav channels are required for normal electrical activity in neurons, skeletal muscle, and cardiomyocytes. In the heart, Nav1.5 is the predominant Nav channel, and Nav1.5-dependent activity regulates rapid upstroke of the cardiac action potential. Nav1.5 activity requires precise localization at specialized cardiomyocyte membrane domains. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying Nav channel trafficking in the heart are unknown. In this paper, we demonstrate that ankyrin-G is required for Nav1.5 targeting in the heart. Cardiomyocytes with reduced ankyrin-G display reduced Nav1.5 expression, abnormal Nav1.5 membrane targeting, and reduced Na+ channel current density. We define the structural requirements on ankyrin-G for Nav1.5 interactions and demonstrate that loss of Nav1.5 targeting is caused by the loss of direct Nav1.5–ankyrin-G interaction. These data are the first report of a cellular pathway required for Nav channel trafficking in the heart and suggest that ankyrin-G is critical for cardiac depolarization and Nav channel organization in multiple excitable tissues.
Neurons are highly polarized cells with functionally distinct axonal and somatodendritic compartments. Voltage-gated sodium channels Nav1.2 and Nav1.6 are highly enriched at axon initial segments (AIS) and nodes of Ranvier, where they are necessary for generation and propagation of action potentials. Previous studies using reporter proteins in unmyelinated cultured neurons suggest that an ankyrinG-binding motif within intracellular loop 2 (L2) of sodium channels is sufficient for targeting these channels to the AIS, but mechanisms of channel targeting to nodes remain poorly understood. Using a CD4-Nav1.2/L2 reporter protein in rat dorsal root ganglion neuron-Schwann cell myelinating co-cultures, we show that the ankyrinG-binding motif is sufficient for protein targeting to nodes of Ranvier. However, reporter proteins cannot capture the complexity of full-length channels. To determine how native, full-length sodium channels are clustered in axons, and to show the feasibility of studying these channels in vivo, we constructed fluorescently-tagged and functional mouse Nav1.6 channels for in vivo analysis using in utero brain electroporation. We show here that wild-type tagged-Nav1.6 channels are efficiently clustered at nodes and AIS in vivo. Furthermore, we show that mutation of a single invariant glutamic acid residue (E1100) within the ankyrinG-binding motif blocked Nav1.6 targeting in neurons both in vitro and in vivo. Additionally, we show that caseine kinase phosphorylation sites within this motif, while not essential for targeting, can modulate clustering at the AIS. Thus, the ankyrinG- binding motif is both necessary and sufficient for the clustering of sodium channels at nodes of Ranvier and the AIS.
Ion Channel; Axon Initial Segment; Nodes of Ranvier; cytoskeleton; in utero electroporation
Voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channels are responsible for initiation and propagation of action potential in the neurons. To explore the mechanisms for chronic heart failure (CHF)-induced baroreflex dysfunction, we measured the expression and current density of Nav channel subunits (Nav1.7, Nav1.8, and Nav1.9) in the aortic baroreceptor neurons and investigated the role of Nav channels on aortic baroreceptor neuron excitability and baroreflex sensitivity in sham and CHF rats. CHF was induced by left coronary artery ligation. The development of CHF (6–8 weeks after the coronary ligation) was confirmed by hemodynamic and morphological characteristics. Immunofluorescent data indicated that Nav1.7 was expressed in A-type (myelinated) and C-type (unmyelinated) nodose neurons but Nav1.8 and Nav1.9 were expressed only in C-type nodose neurons. Real-time RT-PCR and western blot data showed that CHF reduced mRNA and protein expression levels of Nav channels in nodose neurons. In addition, using the whole cell patch-clamp technique, we found that Nav current density and cell excitability of the aortic baroreceptor neurons were lower in CHF rats than that in sham rats. Aortic baroreflex sensitivity was blunted in anesthetized CHF rats, compared with that in sham rats. Furthermore, Nav channel activator (rATX II, 100 nM) significantly enhanced Nav current density and cell excitability of aortic baroreceptor neurons and improved aortic baroreflex sensitivity in CHF rats. These results suggest that reduced expression and activation of the Nav channels is involved in the attenuation of baroreceptor neuron excitability, which subsequently contributes to the impairment of baroreflex in CHF state.
Aortic baroreceptor neuron; Baroreflex; Heart failure; Sodium channel
As a major cardiac voltage-gated sodium channel isoform in the heart, Nav1.5 channel is essential for the cardiac action potential initiation and the subsequent propagation throughout the heart. Mutations of Nav1.5 have been linked to a variety of cardiac disease such as long QT syndrome (LQTs), Brugada syndrome, cardiac conduction defect, atrial fibrillation and dilated cardiomyopathy. Mutagenesis approach and heterologous expression systems are most frequently used to study the function of this channel. This review is primarily focused on recent findings on Nav1.5 mutations that are associated with type 3 long QT syndrome (LQT3) in particular. Understanding the functional changes of the Nav1.5 mutation may offer critical insight into the mechanism of long QT3 syndrome. In addition, this review will provide the updated information on the current progress of using various experimental model systems to study primarily the long QT3 syndrome.
Cardiac sodium channel; cardiac arrhythmia; sodium channel mutation
Plakophilin-2 (PKP2) is an essential component of the cardiac desmosome. Recent data show it interacts with other molecules of the intercalated disc. Separate studies show preferential localization of the voltage-gated sodium channel (NaV1.5) to this region.
to establish the association of PKP2 with sodium channels and its role on action potential propagation.
Methods and Results
Biochemical, patch clamp and optical mapping experiments demonstrate that PKP2 associates with NaV1.5, and that knockdown of PKP2 expression alters the properties of the sodium current, and the velocity of action potential propagation in cultured cardiomyocytes.
These results emphasize the importance of intermolecular interactions between proteins relevant to mechanical junctions, and those involved in electrical synchrony. Possible relevance to the pathogenesis of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy is discussed.
Plakophilin-2; Intercalated disc; ARVC; Cardiac desmosomes
Voltage-gated sodium channels are essential for the initiation and propagation of action potentials in excitable cells and are known as a target of local anesthetics. In addition, inhibition of sodium channels by volatile anesthetics has been proposed as a mechanism of general anesthesia. The n-alcohols produce anesthesia, and their potency increases with carbon number until a “cut-off” is reached. In this study, we examined effects of a range of n-alcohols on Nav1.2 subunits to determine the alcohol cut-off for this channel. We also studied the effect of a short-chain alcohol (ethanol) and a long-chain alcohol (octanol) on Nav1.2, Nav1.4, Nav1.6, and Nav1.8 subunits, and we investigated the effects of alcohol on channel kinetics. Ethanol and octanol inhibited sodium currents of all subunits, and the inhibition of the Nav1.2 channel by n-alcohols indicated a cut-off at nonanol. Ethanol and octanol produced open-channel block, which was more pronounced for Nav1.8 than for the other sodium channels. Inhibition of Nav1.2 was due to decreased activation and increased inactivation. These results suggest that sodium channels may have a hydrophobic binding site for n-alcohols and demonstrate the differences in the kinetic mechanisms of inhibition for n-alcohols and inhaled anesthetics.
Reversible phosphorylation of ion channels underlies cellular plasticity in mammalian neurons. Voltage-gated sodium or Nav channels underlie action potential initiation and propagation, dendritic excitability, and many other aspects of neuronal excitability. Various protein kinases have been suggested to phosphorylate the primary α subunit of Nav channels, affecting diverse aspects of channel function. Previous studies of Nav α subunit phosphorylation have led to the identification of a small set of phosphorylation sites important in meditating aspects of Nav channel function. Here we use nanoflow liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (nano-LC MS/MS) on Nav α subunits affinity-purified from rat brain with two distinct monoclonal antibodies to identify 15 phosphorylation sites on Nav1.2, 12 of which have not been previously reported. We also found 3 novel phosphorylation sites on Nav1.1. In general, commonly used phosphorylation site prediction algorithms did not accurately predict these novel in vivo phosphorylation sites. Our results demonstrate that specific Nav α subunits isolated from rat brain are highly phosphorylated, and suggest extensive modulation of Nav channel activity in mammalian brain. Identification of phosphorylation sites using monoclonal antibody-based immunopurification and mass spectrometry is an effective approach to define the phosphorylation status of Nav channels and important membrane proteins in mammalian brain.
voltage-gated sodium channels; brain; phosphorylation; tandem mass spectrometry; immunopurification; monoclonal antibody; nanoflow liquid chromatography
The cardiac voltage-gated sodium channel, Nav1.5, plays a central role in cardiac excitability and impulse propagation and associates with the dystrophin multiprotein complex at the lateral membrane of cardiomyocytes. It was previously shown that Nav1.5 protein content and the sodium current (lNa) were both decreased in cardiomyocytes of dystrophin-deficient mdx5cv mice. In this study, wild-type and mdx5cv mice were treated for 7 days with the proteasome inhibitor MG132 (10 μg/Kg/24 h) using implanted osmotic mini pumps. MG132 rescued both the total amount of Nav1.5 protein and lNa but, unlike in previous studies, de novo expression of dystrophin was not observed in skeletal or cardiac muscle. This study suggests that the reduced expression of Nav1.5 in dystrophin-deficient cells is dependent on proteasomal degradation.
sodium channels; dystrophin; proteasome; proteasome inhibitors; MG132; electrophysiology
NaV1.5 is a mechanosensitive voltage gated sodium-selective ion channel responsible for the depolarizing current and maintenance of the action potential plateau in the heart. Ranolazine is a NaV1.5 antagonist with anti-anginal and anti-arrhythmic properties.
Methods and Results
Mechanosensitivity of NaV1.5 was tested in voltage-clamped whole cells and cell-attached patches by bath flow and patch pressure, respectively. In whole cells, bath flow increased peak inward current in both murine ventricular cardiac myocytes (24±8%) and HEK cells heterologously expressing NaV1.5 (18±3%). The flow-induced increases in peak current were blocked by ranolazine. In cell-attached patches from cardiac myocytes and NaV1.5-expressing HEK cells, negative pressure increased NaV peak currents by 27±18% and 18±4% and hyperpolarized voltage dependence of activation by -11 mV and -10 mV, respectively. In HEK cells, negative pressure also increased the window current (250%) and increased late open channel events (250%). Ranolazine decreased pressure-induced shift in the voltage-dependence (IC50 54 μM) and eliminated the pressure-induced increases in window current and late current event numbers. Block of NaV1.5 mechanosensitivity by ranolazine was not due to the known binding site on DIVS6 (F1760). The effect of ranolazine on mechanosensitivity of NaV1.5 was approximated by lidocaine. However, ionized ranolazine and charged lidocaine analog (QX-314) failed to block mechanosensitivity.
Ranolazine effectively inhibits mechanosensitivity of NaV1.5. The block of NaV1.5 mechanosensitivity by ranolazine does not utilize the established binding site, and may require bilayer partitioning. Ranolazine block of NaV1.5 mechanosensitivity may be relevant in disorders of mechano-electric dysfunction.
drugs; electrophysiology; ion channels; mechanics; myocytes
Voltage-gated sodium channel Nav1.5 has been linked to the cardiac cell excitability and a variety of arrhythmic syndromes including long QT, Brugada, and conduction abnormalities. Nav1.5 exhibits a slow inactivation, corresponding to a duration-dependent bi-exponential recovery, which is often associated with various arrhythmia syndromes. However, the gating mechanism of Nav1.5 and the physiological role of slow inactivation in cardiac cells remain elusive. Here a 12-state two-step inactivation Markov model was successfully developed to depict the gating kinetics of Nav1.5. This model can simulate the Nav1.5 channel in not only steady state processes, but also various transient processes. Compared with the simpler 8-state model, this 12-state model is well-behaved in simulating and explaining the processes of slow inactivation and slow recovery. This model provides a good framework for further studying the gating mechanism and physiological role of sodium channel in excitable cells.
The human cardiac sodium channel (hNav1.5, encoded by the SCN5A gene) is critical for action potential generation and propagation in the heart. Drug-induced sodium channel inhibition decreases the rate of cardiomyocyte depolarization and consequently conduction velocity and can have serious implications for cardiac safety. Genetic mutations in hNav1.5 have also been linked to a number of cardiac diseases. Therefore, off-target hNav1.5 inhibition may be considered a risk marker for a drug candidate. Given the potential safety implications for patients and the costs of late stage drug development, detection, and mitigation of hNav1.5 liabilities early in drug discovery and development becomes important. In this review, we describe a pre-clinical strategy to identify hNav1.5 liabilities that incorporates in vitro, in vivo, and in silico techniques and the application of this information in the integrated risk assessment at different stages of drug discovery and development.
sodium channel; arrhythmia; pre-clinical; ECG
Amphibians such as frogs can restore lost organs during development, including the lens and tail. In order to design biomedical therapies for organ repair, it is necessary to develop a detailed understanding of natural regeneration. Recently, ion transport has been implicated as a functional regulator of regeneration. While voltage-gated sodium channels play a well-known and important role in propagating action potentials in excitable cells, we have identified a novel role in regeneration for the ion transport function mediated by the voltage-gated sodium channel, NaV1.2. A local, early increase in intracellular sodium is required for initiating regeneration following Xenopus tail amputation, while molecular and pharmacological inhibition of sodium transport causes regenerative failure. NaV1.2 is absent under non-regenerative conditions, but misexpression of human NaV1.5 can rescue regeneration during these states. Remarkably, pharmacological induction of a transient sodium current is capable of restoring regeneration even after the formation of a non-regenerative wound epithelium, confirming that it is the regulation of sodium transport which is critical for regeneration. Our studies reveal a previously undetected competency window in which cells retain their intrinsic regenerative program, identify a novel endogenous role for NaV in regeneration, and show that modulation of sodium transport represents an exciting new approach to organ repair.
NaV channel; NaV; sodium; regeneration; bioelectric; Xenopus; tail
Ankyrins are critical components of ion channel and transporter signaling complexes in the cardiovascular system. Over the past five years, ankyrin dysfunction has been linked with abnormal ion channel and transporter membrane organization and fatal human arrhythmias. Loss-of-function variants in the ankyrin-B gene (ANK2) cause “ankyrin-B syndrome” (previously called type 4 long QT syndrome), manifested by a complex cardiac phenotype including ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. More recently, dysfunction in the ankyrin-B-based targeting pathway has been linked with a highly penetrant and severe form of human sinus node disease. Ankyrin-G (a second ankyrin gene product) is required for normal expression, membrane localization, and biophysical function of the primary cardiac voltage-gated sodium channel, Nav1.5. Loss of the ankyrin-G/Nav1.5 interaction is associated with human cardiac arrhythmia (Brugada syndrome). Finally, in the past year ankyrin dysfunction has been associated with more common arrhythmia and cardiovascular disease phenotypes. Specifically, large animal studies reveal striking remodeling of ankyrin-B and associated proteins following myocardial infarction. Additionally, the ANK2 locus has been linked with QTc interval variability in the general human population. Together, these findings identify a host of unanticipated and exciting roles for ankyrin polypeptides in cardiac function. More broadly, these findings illustrate the importance of local membrane organization for normal cardiac physiology.
The voltage-gated sodium-channel type IX α subunit, known as Nav1.7 and encoded by the gene SCN9A, is located in peripheral neurons and plays an important role in action potential production in these cells. Recent genetic studies have identified Nav1.7 dysfunction in three different human pain disorders. Gain-of-function missense mutations in Nav1.7 have been shown to cause primary erythermalgia and paroxysmal extreme pain disorder, while nonsense mutations in Nav1.7 result in loss of Nav1.7 function and a condition known as channelopathy-associated insensitivity to pain, a rare disorder in which affected individuals are unable to feel physical pain. This review highlights these recent developments and discusses the critical role of Nav1.7 in pain sensation in humans.
The axon initial segment is an excitable membrane highly enriched in voltage-gated sodium channels that integrates neuronal inputs and initiates action potentials. This study identifies Nav1.6 as the voltage-gated sodium channel isoform at mature Purkinje neuron initial segments and reports an essential role for ankyrin-G in coordinating the physiological assembly of Nav1.6, βIV spectrin, and the L1 cell adhesion molecules (L1 CAMs) neurofascin and NrCAM at initial segments of cerebellar Purkinje neurons. Ankyrin-G and βIV spectrin appear at axon initial segments by postnatal day 2, whereas L1 CAMs and Nav1.6 are not fully assembled at continuous high density along axon initial segments until postnatal day 9. L1 CAMs and Nav1.6 therefore do not initiate protein assembly at initial segments. βIV spectrin, Nav1.6, and L1 CAMs are not clustered in adult Purkinje neuron initial segments of mice lacking cerebellar ankyrin-G. These results support the conclusion that ankyrin-G coordinates the physiological assembly of a protein complex containing transmembrane adhesion molecules, voltage-gated sodium channels, and the spectrin membrane skeleton at axon initial segments.
βIV spectrin; sodium channel Nav1.6; neurofascin; NrCAM; axon hillock
The voltage-gated sodium channel (Nav1) plays an important role in initiating and propagating action potentials in neuronal cells. We and others have recently found that the Alzheimer’s disease-related secretases BACE1 and presenilin (PS)/γ-secretase regulate Nav1 function by cleaving auxiliary subunits of the channel complex. We have also shown that elevated BACE1 activity significantly decreases sodium current densities in neuroblastoma cells and acutely dissociated adult hippocampal neurons. For detailed molecular studies of sodium channel regulation, biochemical methods are now complementing classical electrophysiology. To understand how BACE1 regulates sodium current densities in our studies, we setup conditions to analyze surface levels of the pore-forming Nav1 α-subunits. By using a cell surface biotinylation protocol, we found that elevated BACE1 activity significantly decreases surface Nav1 α-subunit levels in both neuroblastoma cells and acutely prepared hippocampal slices. This finding would explain the decreased sodium currents shown by standard electrophysiological methods. The biochemical methods used in our studies would be applicable to analyses of surface expression levels of other ion channels as well as Nav1 in cells and adult hippocampal neurons.
Voltage-gated sodium channel; BACE1; Presenilin; γ-Secretase; Cell surface biotinylation; Neuroblastoma; Hippocampal neurons; Adult hippocampal slices
In axon-bearing neurons, action potentials conventionally initiate at the axon initial segment (AIS) and are important for neuron excitability and cell-to-cell communication. However in axonless neurons, spike origin has remained unclear. Here we report in the axonless spiking AII amacrine cell of the mouse retina a dendritic process sharing organizational and functional similarities with the AIS. This process was revealed through viral-mediated expression of channelrhodopsin-2-GFP (ChR2-GFP) with the AIS-targeting motif of sodium channels (NavII-III). The AII-processes showed clustering of voltage-gated Na+ channel 1.1 (Nav1.1) as well as AIS markers ankyrin-G and neurofascin. Furthermore, NavII-III targeting disrupted Nav1.1 clustering in the AII-process which drastically decreased Na+ current and abolished the ability of the AII amacrine cell to generate spiking. Our findings indicate that despite lacking an axon, spiking in the axonless neuron can originate at a specialized AIS-like process.
Voltage-gated sodium channels are membrane proteins that initiate action potentials in neurons following membrane depolarization. Members of this family show differential distribution at the subcellular level. The mechanisms underlying the targeting of these isoforms are not understood. However, their specificity is important because the isoforms can change the excitability of the membrane due to differences in their electrophysiological properties. In this study, chimeras generated between Nav1.2 and Nav1.6 were used to test channel domains for sequence that would allow Nav1.2 to localize to unmyelinated axons when Nav1.6 could not. We show that the N-terminal 202 amino acids of the Nav1.2 channel can mediate membrane domain-specific sorting in polarized epithelial cells and are necessary but not sufficient for localizing the isoform to the axons of cultured neurons. The domain-sorting signal is in the region between amino acids 110-202 of the Nav1.2 channel. The C-terminal 451 amino acids of Nav1.2 likely contain determinants that interact with neuron-specific factors to direct Nav1.2 to the axon.
Sodium channels; localization; neuron
Nav1.5 is the principal voltage-gated sodium channel expressed in heart, and is also expressed at lower abundance in embryonic dorsal root ganglia (DRG) with little or no expression reported postnatally. We report here the expression of Nav1.5 mRNA isoforms in adult mouse and rat DRG. The major isoform of mouse DRG is Nav1.5a, which encodes a protein with an IDII/III cytoplasmic loop reduced by 53 amino acids. Western blot analysis of adult mouse DRG membrane proteins confirmed the expression of Nav1.5 protein. The Na+ current produced by the Nav1.5a isoform has a voltage-dependent inactivation significantly shifted to more negative potentials (by ~5 mV) compared to the full-length Nav1.5 when expressed in the DRG neuroblastoma cell line ND7/23. These results imply that the alternatively spliced exon 18 of Nav1.5 plays a role in channel inactivation and that Nav1.5a is likely to make a significant contribution to adult DRG neuronal function.
Inherited mutations in voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSCs; or Nav) cause many
disorders of excitability, including epilepsy, chronic pain, myotonia, and cardiac
arrhythmias. Understanding the functional consequences of the disease-causing
mutations is likely to provide invaluable insight into the roles that VGSCs play in
normal and abnormal excitability. Here, we sought to test the hypothesis that
disease-causing mutations lead to increased resurgent currents, unusual sodium
currents that have not previously been implicated in disorders of excitability. We
demonstrated that a paroxysmal extreme pain disorder (PEPD) mutation in the human
peripheral neuronal sodium channel Nav1.7, a paramyotonia congenita (PMC) mutation in
the human skeletal muscle sodium channel Nav1.4, and a long-QT3/SIDS mutation in the
human cardiac sodium channel Nav1.5 all substantially increased the amplitude of
resurgent sodium currents in an optimized adult rat–derived dorsal root
ganglion neuronal expression system. Computer simulations indicated that resurgent
currents associated with the Nav1.7 mutation could induce high-frequency action
potential firing in nociceptive neurons and that resurgent currents associated with
the Nav1.5 mutation could broaden the action potential in cardiac myocytes. These
effects are consistent with the pathophysiology associated with the respective
channelopathies. Our results indicate that resurgent currents are associated with
multiple channelopathies and are likely to be important contributors to neuronal and
muscle disorders of excitability.
Eukaryotic, voltage-gated sodium (NaV) channels are large membrane proteins which underlie generation and propagation of rapid electrical signals in nerve, muscle and heart. Nine different NaV receptor sites, for natural ligands and/or drugs, have been identified, based on functional analyses and site-directed mutagenesis. In the marine ecosystem, numerous toxins have evolved to disrupt NaV channel function, either by inhibition of current flow through the channels, or by modifying the activation and inactivation gating processes by which the channels open and close. These toxins function in their native environment as offensive or defensive weapons in prey capture or deterrence of predators. In composition, they range from organic molecules of varying size and complexity to peptides consisting of ~10–70 amino acids. We review the variety of known NaV-targeted marine toxins, outlining, where known, their sites of interaction with the channel protein and their functional effects. In a number of cases, these natural ligands have the potential applications as drugs in clinical settings, or as models for drug development.
voltage-gated sodium channel; marine neurotoxins; sodium channel receptor sites
Scorpion β toxins, peptides of ∼70 residues, specifically target voltage-gated sodium (NaV) channels to cause use-dependent subthreshold channel openings via a voltage–sensor trapping mechanism. This excitatory action is often overlaid by a not yet understood depressant mode in which NaV channel activity is inhibited. Here, we analyzed these two modes of gating modification by β-toxin Tz1 from Tityus zulianus on heterologously expressed NaV1.4 and NaV1.5 channels using the whole cell patch-clamp method. Tz1 facilitated the opening of NaV1.4 in a use-dependent manner and inhibited channel opening with a reversed use dependence. In contrast, the opening of NaV1.5 was exclusively inhibited without noticeable use dependence. Using chimeras of NaV1.4 and NaV1.5 channels, we demonstrated that gating modification by Tz1 depends on the specific structure of the voltage sensor in domain 2. Although residue G658 in NaV1.4 promotes the use-dependent transitions between Tz1 modification phenotypes, the equivalent residue in NaV1.5, N803, abolishes them. Gating charge neutralizations in the NaV1.4 domain 2 voltage sensor identified arginine residues at positions 663 and 669 as crucial for the outward and inward movement of this sensor, respectively. Our data support a model in which Tz1 can stabilize two conformations of the domain 2 voltage sensor: a preactivated outward position leading to NaV channels that open at subthreshold potentials, and a deactivated inward position preventing channels from opening. The results are best explained by a two-state voltage–sensor trapping model in that bound scorpion β toxin slows the activation as well as the deactivation kinetics of the voltage sensor in domain 2.
Despite increasing evidence for the presence of voltage-gated Na+ channels (Nav) isoforms and measurements of Nav channel currents with the patch-clamp technique in arterial myocytes, no information is available to date as to whether or not Nav channels play a functional role in arteries. The aim of the present work was to look for a physiological role of Nav channels in the control of rat aortic contraction.
Nav channels were detected in the aortic media by Western blot analysis and double immunofluorescence labeling for Nav channels and smooth muscle α-actin using specific antibodies. In parallel, using real time RT-PCR, we identified three Nav transcripts: Nav1.2, Nav1.3, and Nav1.5. Only the Nav1.2 isoform was found in the intact media and in freshly isolated myocytes excluding contamination by other cell types. Using the specific Nav channel agonist veratridine and antagonist tetrodotoxin (TTX), we unmasked a contribution of these channels in the response to the depolarizing agent KCl on rat aortic isometric tension recorded from endothelium-denuded aortic rings. Experimental conditions excluded a contribution of Nav channels from the perivascular sympathetic nerve terminals. Addition of low concentrations of KCl (2–10 mM), which induced moderate membrane depolarization (e.g., from −55.9±1.4 mV to −45.9±1.2 mV at 10 mmol/L as measured with microelectrodes), triggered a contraction potentiated by veratridine (100 µM) and blocked by TTX (1 µM). KB-R7943, an inhibitor of the reverse mode of the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger, mimicked the effect of TTX and had no additive effect in presence of TTX.
These results define a new role for Nav channels in arterial physiology, and suggest that the TTX-sensitive Nav1.2 isoform, together with the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger, contributes to the contractile response of aortic myocytes at physiological range of membrane depolarization.
The human cardiac sodium channel Nav1.5 encoded by the SCN5A gene plays a critical role in cardiac excitability and the propagation of action potentials. Nav1.5 dysfunctions due to mutations cause cardiac diseases such as the LQT3 form of long QT syndrome, conduction disorders, and Brugada syndrome (BrS). They have also recently been associated with dilated cardiomyopathy. BrS is characterized by coved ST-segment elevation on surface ECGs and lethal ventricular arrhythmias in an apparently structurally normal heart. Nav1.5 mutations that cause BrS result in a loss of channel function. Our aim was to functionally characterize two novel Nav1.5 mutations (A124D and V1378M) in BrS patients. Wild-type (WT) and mutant Nav1.5 channels were expressed in tsA201 cells in the presence of the β1-auxiliary subunit. The patch-clamp technique and immunocytochemistry approaches were used to study the mutant channels and their cellular localization. The two mutant channels displayed a dramatic reduction in current density but had normal gating properties. The reduction in current density was caused by the retention of channel proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Mutant channel retention could be partially reversed by incubating transfected cells at 25°C and by treating them with mexiletine (for V1378M but not A124D), or with curcumin or thapsigargin, two drugs that target ER resident proteins. It is likely that the clinical phenotypes observed in these two BrS patients were related to a surface expression defect caused by ER retention.
sodium channels; Brugada syndrome; ventricular fibrillation; cardiac arrhythmias; Nav1.5; mexiletine
Loss of function of the gene SCN9A, encoding the voltage-gated sodium channel Nav1.7, causes a congenital inability to experience pain in humans. Here we show that Nav1.7 is not only necessary for pain sensation but is also an essential requirement for odour perception in both mice and humans. We examined human patients with loss-of-function mutations in SCN9A and show that they are unable to sense odours. To establish the essential role of Nav1.7 in odour perception, we generated conditional null mice in which Nav1.7 was removed from all olfactory sensory neurons. In the absence of Nav1.7, these neurons still produce odour-evoked action potentials but fail to initiate synaptic signalling from their axon terminals at the first synapse in the olfactory system. The mutant mice no longer display vital, odour-guided behaviours such as innate odour recognition and avoidance, short-term odour learning, and maternal pup retrieval. Our study creates a mouse model of congenital general anosmia and provides new strategies to explore the genetic basis of the human sense of smell.