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1.  Voltage-gated Nav channel targeting in the heart requires an ankyrin-G–dependent cellular pathway 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2008;180(1):173-186.
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.
PMCID: PMC2213608  PMID: 18180363
2.  An ankyrinG-binding motif is necessary and sufficient for targeting Nav1.6 sodium channels to axon initial segments and nodes of Ranvier 
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.
PMCID: PMC3413458  PMID: 22623668
Ion Channel; Axon Initial Segment; Nodes of Ranvier; cytoskeleton; in utero electroporation
Journal of proteome research  2012;11(12):5994-6007.
Cardiac voltage-gated Na+ (Nav) channels are key determinants of action potential waveforms, refractoriness and propagation, and Nav1.5 is the main Nav pore-forming (α) subunit in the mammalian heart. Although direct phosphorylation of the Nav1.5 protein has been suggested to modulate various aspects of Nav channel physiology and pathophysiology, native Nav1.5 phosphorylation sites have not been identified. In the experiments here, a mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomic approach was developed to identify native Nav1.5 phosphorylation sites directly. Using an anti-NavPAN antibody, Nav channel complexes were immunoprecipitated from adult mouse cardiac ventricles. The MS analyses revealed that this antibody immunoprecipitates several Nav α subunits in addition to Nav1.5, as well as several previously identified Nav channel associated/regulatory proteins. Label-free comparative and data-driven phosphoproteomic analyses of purified cardiac Nav1.5 protein identified 11 phosphorylation sites, 8 of which are novel. All the phosphorylation sites identified except one in the N-terminus are in the first intracellular linker loop, suggesting critical roles for this region in phosphorylation-dependent cardiac Nav channel regulation. Interestingly, commonly used prediction algorithms did not reliably predict these newly identified in situ phosphorylation sites. Taken together, the results presented provide the first in situ map of basal phosphorylation sites on the mouse cardiac Nav1.5 α subunit.
PMCID: PMC3518584  PMID: 23092124
Nav1.5 Channels; Heart; Native Phosphorylations; Mass Spectrometric Identifications; Label-free Comparative and Data-driven LC-MS/MS Analyses
4.  Reduced expression and activation of voltage-gated sodium channels contributes to blunted baroreflex sensitivity in heart failure rats 
Journal of neuroscience research  2010;88(15):3337-3349.
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.
PMCID: PMC2953570  PMID: 20857502
Aortic baroreceptor neuron; Baroreflex; Heart failure; Sodium channel
5.  n-Alcohols Inhibit Voltage-Gated Na+ Channels Expressed in Xenopus Oocytes 
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.
PMCID: PMC2575017  PMID: 18434586
6.  Cardiac Sodium Channel Nav1.5 Mutations and Cardiac Arrhythmia 
Pediatric Cardiology  2012;33(6):943-949.
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.
PMCID: PMC3393812  PMID: 22460359
Cardiac sodium channel; cardiac arrhythmia; sodium channel mutation
7.  Loss of Plakophilin-2 Expression Leads to Decreased Sodium Current and Slower Conduction Velocity in Cultured Cardiac Myocytes 
Circulation research  2009;105(6):523-526.
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.
PMCID: PMC2742576  PMID: 19661460
Plakophilin-2; Intercalated disc; ARVC; Cardiac desmosomes
8.  Kinetic Model of Nav1.5 Channel Provides a Subtle Insight into Slow Inactivation Associated Excitability in Cardiac Cells 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e64286.
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.
PMCID: PMC3655986  PMID: 23696876
9.  Ranolazine Decreases Mechanosensitivity of the Voltage-Gated Sodium Ion Channel NaV1.5: A Novel Mechanism of Drug Action 
Circulation  2012;125(22):2698-2706.
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.
PMCID: PMC3392778  PMID: 22565935
drugs; electrophysiology; ion channels; mechanics; myocytes
10.  Induction of Vertebrate Regeneration by a Transient Sodium Current 
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.
PMCID: PMC2965411  PMID: 20881138
NaV channel; NaV; sodium; regeneration; bioelectric; Xenopus; tail
11.  Ankyrin-G coordinates assembly of the spectrin-based membrane skeleton, voltage-gated sodium channels, and L1 CAMs at Purkinje neuron initial segments 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2001;155(5):739-746.
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.
PMCID: PMC2150881  PMID: 11724816
βIV spectrin; sodium channel Nav1.6; neurofascin; NrCAM; axon hillock
12.  Action potential generation at an AIS-like process in the axonless retinal AII amacrine cell 
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.
PMCID: PMC3228603  PMID: 21994381
13.  Role of the Terminal Domains in Sodium Channel Localization 
Channels (Austin, Tex.)  2009;3(3):171-180.
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.
PMCID: PMC2785851  PMID: 19535906
Sodium channels; localization; neuron
14.  Scorpion β-toxin interference with NaV channel voltage sensor gives rise to excitatory and depressant modes 
The Journal of General Physiology  2012;139(4):305-319.
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.
PMCID: PMC3315148  PMID: 22450487
15.  Surface Trafficking of Sodium Channels in Cells and in Hippocampal Slices 
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.
PMCID: PMC3256427  PMID: 21913112
Voltage-gated sodium channel; BACE1; Presenilin; γ-Secretase; Cell surface biotinylation; Neuroblastoma; Hippocampal neurons; Adult hippocampal slices
16.  Multi-site Phosphorylation of Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel α Subunits from Rat Brain 
Journal of proteome research  2010;9(4):1976-1984.
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.
PMCID: PMC2849892  PMID: 20131913
voltage-gated sodium channels; brain; phosphorylation; tandem mass spectrometry; immunopurification; monoclonal antibody; nanoflow liquid chromatography
17.  Phylogeny Unites Animal Sodium Leak Channels with Fungal Calcium Channels in an Ancient, Voltage-Insensitive Clade 
Molecular Biology and Evolution  2012;29(12):3613-3616.
Proteins in the superfamily of voltage-gated ion channels mediate behavior across the tree of life. These proteins regulate the movement of ions across cell membranes by opening and closing a central pore that controls ion flow. The best-known members of this superfamily are the voltage-gated potassium, calcium (Cav), and sodium (Nav) channels, which underlie impulse conduction in nerve and muscle. Not all members of this family are opened by changes in voltage, however. NALCN (NA+ leak channel nonselective) channels, which encode a voltage-insensitive “sodium leak” channel, have garnered a growing interest. This study examines the phylogenetic relationship among Nav/Cav voltage-gated and voltage-insensitive channels in the eukaryotic group Opisthokonta, which includes animals, fungi, and their unicellular relatives. We show that NALCN channels diverged from voltage-gated channels before the divergence of fungi and animals and that the closest relatives of NALCN channels are fungal calcium channels, which they functionally resemble.
PMCID: PMC3494271  PMID: 22821012
NALCN; Cch1; maximum likelihood; pore motif
18.  Isoflurane Inhibits the Tetrodotoxin-resistant Voltagegated Sodium Channel Nav1.8 
Anesthesiology  2009;111(3):591-599.
Voltage-gated sodium channels (Nav) mediate neuronal action potentials. Tetrodotoxin inhibits all Nav isoforms, but Nav1.8 and Nav1.9 are relatively tetrodotoxin-resistant (TTX-r) compared to other isoforms. Nav1.8 is highly expressed in dorsal root ganglion neurons and is functionally linked to nociception, but the sensitivity of TTX-r isoforms to inhaled anesthetics is unclear.
The sensitivities of heterologously expressed rat TTX-r Nav1.8 and endogenous tetrodotoxin-sensitive (TTX-s) Nav to the prototypic inhaled anesthetic isoflurane were tested in mammalian ND7/23 cells using patch-clamp electrophysiology.
From a holding potential of −70 mV, isoflurane (0.53±0.06 mM, ~1.8 MAC at 24°C) reduced normalized peak Na+ current (INa) of Nav1.8 to 0.55±0.03 and of endogenous TTX-s Nav to 0.56±0.06. Isoflurane minimally inhibited INa from a holding potential of −140 mV. Isoflurane did not affect voltage-dependence of activation, but significantly shifted voltage-dependence of steady-state inactivation by −6 mV for Nav1.8 and by −7 mV for TTX-s Nav. IC50 values for inhibition of peak INa were 0.67±0.06 mM for Nav1.8 and 0.66±0.09 mM for TTX-s Nav; significant inhibition occurred at clinically relevant concentrations as low as 0.58 MAC. Isoflurane produced use-dependent block of Nav1.8; at a stimulation frequency of 10 Hz, 0.56±0.08 mM isoflurane reduced INa to 0.64±0.01 vs. 0.78±0.01 for control.
Isoflurane inhibited the tetrodotoxin-resistant isoform Nav1.8 with potency comparable to that for endogenous tetrodotoxin-sensitive Nav isoforms, indicating that sensitivity to inhaled anesthetics is conserved across diverse Nav family members. Block of Nav1.8 in dorsal root ganglion neurons could contribute to the effects of inhaled anesthetics on peripheral nociceptive mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC2756082  PMID: 19672182
19.  Proteasome inhibitor (MG132) rescues Nav1.5 protein content and the cardiac sodium current in dystrophin-deficient mdx5cv mice 
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.
PMCID: PMC3607792  PMID: 23532763
sodium channels; dystrophin; proteasome; proteasome inhibitors; MG132; electrophysiology
20.  Crystal structure of a voltage-gated sodium channel in two potentially inactivated states 
Nature  2012;486(7401):135-139.
In excitable cells, voltage-gated sodium (NaV) channels activate to initiate action potentials and then undergo fast and slow inactivation processes that terminate their ionic conductance1,2. Inactivation is a hallmark of NaV channel function and is critical for control of membrane excitability3, but the structural basis for this process has remained elusive. Here we report crystallographic snapshots of the wild-type NavAb channel from Arcobacter butzleri captured in two potentially inactivated states at 3.2 Å resolution. Compared to previous structures of NavAb S6-cysteine mutants4, the pore-lining S6 helices and the intracellular activation gate have undergone significant rearrangements in which one pair of S6 segments has collapsed toward the central pore axis and the other S6 pair has moved outward to produce a striking dimer-of-dimers configuration. An increase in global structural asymmetry is observed throughout our wild-type NavAb models, reshaping the ion selectivity filter at the extracellular end of the pore, the central cavity and its residues analogous to the mammalian drug receptor site, and the lateral pore fenestrations. The voltage-sensing domains also shift around the perimeter of the pore module in NavAb, and local structural changes identify a conserved interaction network that connects distant molecular determinants involved in NaV channel gating and inactivation. These potential inactivated-state structures provide new insights into NaV channel gating and novel avenues to drug development and therapy for a range of debilitating NaV channelopathies.
PMCID: PMC3552482  PMID: 22678296
21.  Expression of Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel Nav1.8 in Human Prostate Cancer is Associated with High Histological Grade 
Journal of clinical & experimental oncology  2012;1(2):10.4172/2324-9110.1000102.
Voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channels are required for impulse conductance in excitable tissues. Navs have been linked to human cancers, including prostate. The expression and distribution of Nav isoforms (Nav1.1-Nav1.9) in human prostate cancer are not well established. Here, we evaluated the expression of these isoforms and investigated the expression of Nav1.8 in human prostate cancer tissues. Nav1.8 was highly expressed in all examined cells. Expression of Nav1.1, Nav1.2, and Nav1.9 were high in DU-145, PC-3 and PC-3M cells compared to LNCaP (hormone-dependent), C4-2, C4-2B, and CWR22Rv-1 cells. Nav1.5 and Nav1.6 were expressed in all cells examined. Nav1.7 expression was absent in PC-3M and CWR22Rv-1, but expressed in the other cells examined. Immunohistochemistry revealed intensive Nav1.8 staining correlated with more advanced pathologic stage of disease. Increased intensity of nuclear Nav1.8 correlated with increased Gleason grade. Our results revealed that Nav1.8 is universally expressed in human prostate cancer cells. Nav1.8 expression statistically correlated with pathologic stage (P=0.04) and Gleason score (P=0.01) of human prostate tissue specimens. The aberrant nuclear localization of Nav1.8 with advanced prostate cancer tissues warrant further investigation into use of Nav1.8 as a potential biomarker to differentiate between early and advanced disease.
PMCID: PMC3807742  PMID: 24163825
Voltage-gated sodium channel; Prostate cancer; Prostate biomarker; Gleason score
22.  Cardiac Safety Implications of hNav1.5 Blockade and a Framework for Pre-Clinical Evaluation 
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.
PMCID: PMC3266668  PMID: 22303294
sodium channel; arrhythmia; pre-clinical; ECG
23.  Membrane permeable local anesthetics modulate NaV1.5 mechanosensitivity 
Channels  2012;6(4):308-316.
Voltage-gated sodium selective ion channel NaV1.5 is expressed in the heart and the gastrointestinal tract, which are mechanically active organs. NaV1.5 is mechanosensitive at stimuli that gate other mechanosensitive ion channels. Local anesthetic and antiarrhythmic drugs act upon NaV1.5 to modulate activity by multiple mechanisms. This study examined whether NaV1.5 mechanosensitivity is modulated by local anesthetics. NaV1.5 channels wereexpressed in HEK-293 cells, and mechanosensitivity was tested in cell-attached and excised inside-out configurations. Using a novel protocol with paired voltage ladders and short pressure pulses, negative patch pressure (-30 mmHg) in both configurations produced a hyperpolarizing shift in the half-point of the voltage-dependence of activation (V1/2a) and inactivation (V1/2i) by about -10 mV. Lidocaine (50 µM) inhibited the pressure-induced shift of V1/2a but not V1/2i. Lidocaine inhibited the tonic increase in pressure-induced peak current in a use-dependence protocol, but it did not otherwise affect use-dependent block. The local anesthetic benzocaine, which does not show use-dependent block, also effectively blocked a pressure-induced shift in V1/2a. Lidocaine inhibited mechanosensitivity in NaV1.5 at the local anesthetic binding site mutated (F1760A). However, a membrane impermeable lidocaine analog QX-314 did not affect mechanosensitivity of F1760A NaV1.5 when applied from either side of the membrane. These data suggest that the mechanism of lidocaine inhibition of the pressure-induced shift in the half-point of voltage-dependence of activation is separate from the mechanisms of use-dependent block. Modulation of NaV1.5 mechanosensitivity by the membrane permeable local anesthetics may require hydrophobic access and may involve membrane-protein interactions.
PMCID: PMC3508909  PMID: 22874086
voltage-gated; sodium channel; ion channel; stretch; mechanosensitive; pressure; lidocaine; benzocaine; QX-314
24.  Cardiac ankyrins in health and disease 
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.
PMCID: PMC2745072  PMID: 19394342
25.  Functional Properties and Differential Neuromodulation of Nav1.6 Channels 
The voltage-gated sodium channel Nav1.6 plays unique roles in the nervous system, but its functional properties and neuromodulation are not as well established as for NaV1.2 channels. We found no significant differences in voltage-dependent activation or fast inactivation between NaV1.6 and NaV1.2 channels expressed in non-excitable cells. In contrast, the voltage dependence of slow inactivation was more positive for Nav1.6 channels, they conducted substantially larger persistent sodium currents than Nav1.2 channels, and they were much less sensitive to inhibtion by phosphorylation by cAMP-dependent protein kinase and protein kinase C. Resurgent sodium current, a hallmark of Nav1.6 channels in neurons, was not observed for NaV1.6 expressed alone or with the auxiliary β4 subunit. The unique properties of NaV1.6 channels, together with the resurgent currents that they conduct in neurons, make these channels well-suited to provide the driving force for sustained repetitive firing, a crucial property of neurons.
PMCID: PMC3433175  PMID: 18599309

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