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1.  Sensitivity of cloned muscle, heart and neuronal voltage-gated sodium channels to block by polyamines 
Channels  2012;6(1):41-49.
Spermidine and spermine, are endogenous polyamines (PAs) that regulate cell growth and modulate the activity of numerous ion channel proteins. In particular, intracellular PAs are potent blockers of many different cation channels and are responsible for strong suppression of outward K+ current, a phenomenon known as inward rectification characteristic of a major class of KIR K+ channels. We previously described block of heterologously expressed voltage-gated Na+ channels (NaV) of rat muscle by intracellular PAs and PAs have recently been found to modulate excitability of brain neocortical neurons by blocking neuronal NaV channels. In this study, we compared the sensitivity of four different cloned mammalian NaV isoforms to PAs to investigate whether PA block is a common feature of NaV channel pharmacology. We find that outward Na+ current of muscle (NaV1.4), heart (NaV1.5), and neuronal (NaV1.2, NaV1.7) NaV isoforms is blocked by PAs, suggesting that PA metabolism may be linked to modulation of action potential firing in numerous excitable tissues. Interestingly, the cardiac NaV1.5 channel is more sensitive to PA block than other isoforms. Our results also indicate that rapid binding of PAs to blocking sites in the NaV1.4 channel is restricted to access from the cytoplasmic side of the channel, but plasma membrane transport pathways for PA uptake may contribute to long-term NaV channel modulation. PAs may also play a role in drug interactions since spermine attenuates the use-dependent effect of the lidocaine, a typical local anesthetic and anti-arrhythmic drug.
PMCID: PMC3367677  PMID: 22522923
inward rectification; lidocaine; local anesthetics; Polyamines; sodium channels; spermidine; spermine; use-dependence; voltage-gated Na+ channels
2.  Reactive Oxygen Species Suppress Cardiac NaV1.5 Expression through Foxo1 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(2):e32738.
NaV1.5 is a cardiac voltage-gated Na+ channel αsubunit and is encoded by the SCN5a gene. The activity of this channel determines cardiac depolarization and electrical conduction. Channel defects, including mutations and decrease of channel protein levels, have been linked to the development of cardiac arrhythmias. The molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of NaV1.5 expression are largely unknown. Forkhead box O (Foxo) proteins are transcriptional factors that bind the consensus DNA sequences in their target gene promoters and regulate the expression of these genes. Comparative analysis revealed conserved DNA sequences, 5′-CAAAACA-3′ (insulin responsive element, IRE), in rat, mouse and human SCN5a promoters with the latter two containing two overlapping Foxo protein binding IREs, 5′-CAAAACAAAACA-3′. This finding led us to hypothesize that Foxo1 regulates NaV1.5 expression by directly binding the SCN5a promoter and affecting its transcriptional activity. In the present study, we determined whether Foxo1 regulates NaV1.5 expression at the transcriptional level and also defined the role of Foxo1 in hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-mediated NaV1.5 suppression in HL-1 cardiomyocytes using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), constitutively nuclear Foxo1 expression, and RNAi Foxo1 knockdown as well as whole cell voltage-clamp recordings. ChIP with anti-Foxo1 antibody and follow-up semi-quantitative PCR with primers flanking Foxo1 binding sites in the proximal SCN5a promoter region clearly demonstrated enrichment of DNA, confirming Foxo1 recruitment to this consensus sequence. Foxo1 mutant (T24A/S319A-GFP, Foxo1-AA-GFP) was retained in nuclei, leading to a decrease of NaV1.5 expression and Na+ current, while silencing of Foxo1 expression by RNAi resulted in the augmentation of NaV1.5 expression. H2O2 significantly reduced NaV1.5 expression by promoting Foxo1 nuclear localization and this reduction was prevented by RNAi silencing Foxo1 expression. These studies indicate that Foxo1 negatively regulates NaV1.5 expression in cardiomyocytes and reactive oxygen species suppress NaV1.5 expression through Foxo1.
PMCID: PMC3293505  PMID: 22400069
3.  Inflammatory Mediators Increase Nav1.9 Current and Excitability in Nociceptors through a Coincident Detection Mechanism 
The Journal of General Physiology  2008;131(3):211-225.
Altered function of Na+ channels is responsible for increased hyperexcitability of primary afferent neurons that may underlie pathological pain states. Recent evidence suggests that the Nav1.9 subunit is implicated in inflammatory but not acute pain. However, the contribution of Nav1.9 channels to the cellular events underlying nociceptor hyperexcitability is still unknown, and there remains much uncertainty as to the biophysical properties of Nav1.9 current and its modulation by inflammatory mediators. Here, we use gene targeting strategy and computer modeling to identify Nav1.9 channel current signature and its impact on nociceptors' firing patterns. Recordings using internal fluoride in small DRG neurons from wild-type and Nav1.9-null mutant mice demonstrated that Nav1.9 subunits carry the TTX-resistant “persistent” Na+ current called NaN. Nav1.9−/− nociceptors showed no significant change in the properties of the slowly inactivating TTX-resistant SNS/Nav1.8 current. The loss in Nav1.9-mediated Na+ currents was associated with the inability of small DRG neurons to generate a large variety of electrophysiological behaviors, including subthreshold regenerative depolarizations, plateau potentials, active hyperpolarizing responses, oscillatory bursting discharges, and bistable membrane behaviors. We further investigated, using CsCl- and KCl-based pipette solutions, whether G-protein signaling pathways and inflammatory mediators upregulate the NaN/Nav1.9 current. Bradykinin, ATP, histamine, prostaglandin-E2, and norepinephrine, applied separately at maximal concentrations, all failed to modulate the Nav1.9 current. However, when applied conjointly as a soup of inflammatory mediators they rapidly potentiated Nav1.9 channel activity, generating subthreshold amplification and increased excitability. We conclude that Nav1.9 channel, the molecular correlate of the NaN current, is potentiated by the concerted action of inflammatory mediators that may contribute to nociceptors' hyperexcitability during peripheral inflammation.
PMCID: PMC2248717  PMID: 18270172
4.  CaMKII-Based Regulation of Voltage-Gated Na+ Channel in Cardiac Disease 
Circulation  2012;126(17):10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.112.105320.
Human gene variants affecting ion channel biophysical activity and/or membrane localization are linked with potentially fatal cardiac arrhythmias. However, the mechanism for many human arrhythmia variants remains undefined despite over a decade of investigation. Post-translational modulation of membrane proteins is essential for normal cardiac function. Importantly, aberrant myocyte signaling has been linked to defects in cardiac ion channel post-translational modifications and disease. We recently identified a novel pathway for post-translational regulation of the primary cardiac voltage-gated Na+ channel (Nav1.5) by CaMKII. However, a role for this pathway in cardiac disease has not been evaluated.
Methods and Results
We evaluated the role of CaMKII-dependent phosphorylation in human genetic and acquired disease. We report an unexpected link between a short motif in the Nav1.5 DI-DII loop, recently shown to be critical for CaMKII-dependent phosphorylation, and Nav1.5 function in monogenic arrhythmia and common heart disease. Experiments in heterologous cells and primary ventricular cardiomyocytes demonstrate that human arrhythmia susceptibility variants (A572D and Q573E) alter CaMKII-dependent regulation of Nav1.5 resulting in abnormal channel activity and cell excitability. In silico analysis reveals that these variants functionally mimic the phosphorylated channel resulting in increased susceptibility to arrhythmia-triggering afterdepolarizations. Finally, we report that this same motif is aberrantly regulated in a large animal model of acquired heart disease and in failing human myocardium.
We identify the mechanism for two human arrhythmia variants that affect Nav1.5 channel activity through direct effects on channel post-translational modification. We propose that the CaMKII phosphorylation motif in the Nav1.5 DI-DII cytoplasmic loop is a critical nodal point for pro-arrhythmic changes to Nav1.5 in congenital and acquired cardiac disease.
PMCID: PMC3811023  PMID: 23008441
arrhythmia (mechanisms); calmodulin dependent protein kinase II; heart failure; ion channels; long-QT syndrome; myocardial infarction
5.  Molecular basis of differential sensitivity of insect sodium channels to DCJW, a bioactive metabolite of the oxadiazine insecticide indoxacarb 
Neurotoxicology  2005;27(2):237-244.
Indoxacarb (DPX-JW062) was recently developed as a new oxadiazine insecticide with high insecticidal activity and low mammalian toxicity. Previous studies showed that indoxacarb and its bioactive metabolite, N-decarbomethoxyllated JW062 (DCJW), block insect sodium channels in nerve preparations and isolated neurons. However, the molecular mechanism of indoxacarb/DCJW action on insect sodium channels is not well understood. In this study, we identified two cockroach sodium channel variants, BgNav1-1 and BgNav1-4, which differ in voltage dependence of fast and slow inactivation, and channel sensitivity to DCJW. The voltage dependence of fast inactivation and slow inactivation of BgNav1-4 were shifted in the hyperpolarizing direction compared with those of BgNav1-1 channels. At the holding potential of −90 mV, 20 μM of DCJW reduced the peak current of BgNav1-4 by about 40%, but had no effect on BgNav1-1. However, at the holding potential of −60 mV, DCJW also reduced the peak currents of BgNav1-1 by about 50%. Furthermore, DCJW delayed the recovery from slow inactivation of both variants. Substitution of E1689 in segment 4 of domain four (IVS4) of BgNav1-4 with a K, which is present in BgNav1-1, was sufficient to shift the voltage dependence of fast and slow inactivation of BgNav1-4 channels to the more depolarizing membrane potential close to that of BgNav1-1 channels. The E1689K change also eliminated the DCJW inhibition of BgNav1-4 at the hyperpolarizing holding potentials. These results show that the E1689K change is responsible for the difference in channel gating and sensitivity to DCJW between BgNav1-4 and BgNav1-1. Our results support the notion that DCJW preferably acts on the inactivated state of the sodium channel and demonstrate that K1689E is a major molecular determinant of the voltage-dependent inactivation and state-dependent action of DCJW.
PMCID: PMC3057067  PMID: 16325912
Insect sodium channel; Insecticide; Indoxacarb; DCJW; Xenopus oocyte
6.  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
7.  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
8.  State- and Use-Dependent Block of Muscle Nav1.4 and Neuronal Nav1.7 Voltage-Gated Na+ Channel Isoforms by Ranolazine 
Molecular pharmacology  2007;73(3):940-948.
Ranolazine is an antianginal agent that targets a number of ion channels in the heart, including cardiac voltage-gated Na+ channels. However, ranolazine block of muscle and neuronal Na+ channel isoforms has not been examined. We compared the state- and use-dependent ranolazine block of Na+ currents carried by muscle Nav1.4, cardiac Nav1.5, and neuronal Nav1.7 isoforms expressed in human embryonic kidney 293T cells. Resting and inactivated block of Na+ channels by ranolazine were generally weak, with a 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) ≥ 60 μM. Use-dependent block of Na+ channel isoforms by ranolazine during repetitive pulses (+50 mV/10 ms at 5 Hz) was strong at 100 μM, up to 77% peak current reduction for Nav1.4, 67% for Nav1.5, and 83% for Nav1.7. In addition, we found conspicuous time-dependent block of inactivation-deficient Nav1.4, Nav1.5, and Nav1.7 Na+ currents by ranolazine with estimated IC50 values of 2.4, 6.2, and 1.7 μM, respectively. On- and off-rates of ranolazine were 8.2 μM−1 s−1 and 22 s−1, respectively, for Nav1.4 open channels and 7.1 μM−1 s−1 and 14 s−1, respectively, for Nav1.7 counterparts. A F1579K mutation at the local anesthetic receptor of inactivation-deficient Nav1.4 Na+ channels reduced the potency of ranolazine ~17-fold. We conclude that: 1) both muscle and neuronal Na+ channels are as sensitive to ranolazine block as their cardiac counterparts; 2) at its therapeutic plasma concentrations, ranolazine interacts predominantly with the open but not resting or inactivated Na+ channels; and 3) ranolazine block of open Na+ channels is via the conserved local anesthetic receptor albeit with a relatively slow on-rate.
PMCID: PMC2275669  PMID: 18079277
9.  Left-Shifted Nav Channels in Injured Bilayer: Primary Targets for Neuroprotective Nav Antagonists? 
Mechanical, ischemic, and inflammatory injuries to voltage-gated sodium channel (Nav)-rich membranes of axon initial segments and nodes of Ranvier render Nav channels dangerously leaky. By what means? The behavior of recombinant Nav1.6 (Wang et al., 2009) leads us to postulate that, in neuropathologic conditions, structural degradation of axolemmal bilayer fosters chronically left-shifted Nav channel operation, resulting in ENa rundown. This “sick excitable cell Nav-leak” would encompass left-shifted fast- and slow-mode based persistent INa (i.e., Iwindow and slow-inactivating INa). Bilayer-damage-induced electrophysiological dysfunctions of native-Nav channels, and effects on inhibitors on those channels, should, we suggest, be studied in myelinated axons, exploiting INa(V,t) hysteresis data from sawtooth ramp clamp. We hypothesize that (like dihydropyridines for Ca channels), protective lipophilic Nav antagonists would partition more avidly into disorderly bilayers than into the well-packed bilayers characteristic of undamaged, healthy plasma membrane. Whereas inhibitors using aqueous routes would access all Navs equally, differential partitioning into “sick bilayer” would co-localize lipophilic antagonists with “sick-Nav channels,” allowing for more specific targeting of impaired cells. Molecular fine-tuning of Nav antagonists to favor more avid partitioning into damaged than into intact bilayers could reduce side effects. In potentially salvageable neurons of traumatic and/or ischemic penumbras, in inflammatory neuropathies, in muscular dystrophy, in myocytes of cardiac infarct borders, Nav-leak driven excitotoxicity overwhelms cellular repair mechanisms. Precision-tuning of a lipophilic Nav antagonist for greatest efficacy in mildly damaged membranes could render it suitable for the prolonged continuous administration needed to allow for the remodeling of the excitable membranes, and thus functional recovery.
PMCID: PMC3284691  PMID: 22375118
traumatic brain injury; spinal; riluzole; ranolazine; simulation; modeling
10.  Loss-of-Function of hNav1.5 by ZASP1-D117N Associated with Intraventricular Conduction Disturbances in Left Ventricular Noncompaction 
Defects of cytoarchitectural proteins can cause left ventricular noncompaction (LVNC), which is often associated with conduction system diseases. We have previously identified a p.D117N mutation in the LDB3-encoding Z-band Alternatively Spliced PDZ motif gene (ZASP) in a patient with LVNC and conduction disturbances. We sought to investigate a role of p.D117N mutation in the LBD3 NM_001080114.1 isoform (ZASP1-D117N) in the regulation of cardiac sodium channel (Nav1.5) that plays an important role in the cardiac conduction system.
Methods and Results
Effects of ZASP1-wt and ZASP1-D117N on Nav1.5 were studied in HEK-293 cells and neonatal rat cardiomyocytes (NRCMs). Patch-clamp study demonstrated that ZASP1-D117N significantly attenuated INa by 27% in HEK-293 cells and by 32% in NRCMs. In addition, ZASP1-D117N rightward shifted the voltage-dependent activation and inactivation in both systems. In silico simulation using Luo-Rudy phase 1 model demonstrated that altered Nav1.5 function can reduce cardiac conduction velocity by 28% compared to the control. Pull-down assays showed that both wt and ZASP1-D117N can complex with Nav1.5 and telethonin/T-Cap, which required intact PDZ domains. Immunohistochemical staining in NRCMs demonstrates that ZASP1-D117N did not significantly disturb the Z-line structure. Disruption of cytoskeletal networks with ML-7 and cytochalasin D abolished the effects of ZASP1-D117N on the Nav1.5.
ZASP1 can form protein complex with telethonin/T-Cap and Nav1.5. The LVNC-specific ZASP1 mutation can cause loss-of-function of Nav1.5 without significant alteration of the cytoskeletal protein complex. Our study suggests that electrical remodeling can occur in LVNC subject due to a direct effect of mutant ZASP on Nav1.5.
PMCID: PMC4331025  PMID: 22929165
ZASP; sodium channel; cardiac conduction disturbance; left ventricular noncompaction
11.  Multiple roles for NaV1.9 in the activation of visceral afferents by noxious inflammatory, mechanical, and human disease–derived stimuli 
Pain  2014;155(10):1962-1975.
NaV1.9 regulates normal colonic afferent mechanosensation and is required for hypersensitivity to noxious inflammatory mediators and those derived from inflammatory bowel disease tissues.
Chronic visceral pain affects millions of individuals worldwide and remains poorly understood, with current therapeutic options constrained by gastrointestinal adverse effects. Visceral pain is strongly associated with inflammation and distension of the gut. Here we report that the voltage-gated sodium channel subtype NaV1.9 is expressed in half of gut-projecting rodent dorsal root ganglia sensory neurons. We show that NaV1.9 is required for normal mechanosensation, for direct excitation and for sensitization of mouse colonic afferents by mediators from inflammatory bowel disease tissues, and by noxious inflammatory mediators individually. Excitatory responses to ATP or PGE2 were substantially reduced in NaV1.9−/− mice. Deletion of NaV1.9 substantially attenuates excitation and subsequent mechanical hypersensitivity after application of inflammatory soup (IS) (bradykinin, ATP, histamine, PGE2, and 5HT) to visceral nociceptors located in the serosa and mesentery. Responses to mechanical stimulation of mesenteric afferents were also reduced by loss of NaV1.9, and there was a rightward shift in stimulus–response function to ramp colonic distension. By contrast, responses to rapid, high-intensity phasic distension of the colon are initially unaffected; however, run-down of responses to repeat phasic distension were exacerbated in NaV1.9−/− afferents. Finally colonic afferent activation by supernatants derived from inflamed human tissue was greatly reduced in NaV1.9−/− mice. These results demonstrate that NaV1.9 is required for persistence of responses to intense mechanical stimulation, contributes to inflammatory mechanical hypersensitivity, and is essential for activation by noxious inflammatory mediators, including those from diseased human bowel. These observations indicate that NaV1.9 represents a high-value target for development of visceral analgesics.
PMCID: PMC4220011  PMID: 24972070
Distal colon; Inflammatory bowel disease; NaV1.9; Nociceptor sensitivity; Noxious distension; Supernatants; Visceral hypersensitivity; Visceral pain; Voltage-gated sodium channel
12.  Spontaneous Excitation Patterns Computed for Axons with Injury-like Impairments of Sodium Channels and Na/K Pumps 
PLoS Computational Biology  2012;8(9):e1002664.
In injured neurons, “leaky” voltage-gated sodium channels (Nav) underlie dysfunctional excitability that ranges from spontaneous subthreshold oscillations (STO), to ectopic (sometimes paroxysmal) excitation, to depolarizing block. In recombinant systems, mechanical injury to Nav1.6-rich membranes causes cytoplasmic Na+-loading and “Nav-CLS”, i.e., coupled left-(hyperpolarizing)-shift of Nav activation and availability. Metabolic injury of hippocampal neurons (epileptic discharge) results in comparable impairment: left-shifted activation and availability and hence left-shifted INa-window. A recent computation study revealed that CLS-based INa-window left-shift dissipates ion gradients and impairs excitability. Here, via dynamical analyses, we focus on sustained excitability patterns in mildly damaged nodes, in particular with more realistic Gaussian-distributed Nav-CLS to mimic “smeared” injury intensity. Since our interest is axons that might survive injury, pumps (sine qua non for live axons) are included. In some simulations, pump efficacy and system volumes are varied. Impacts of current noise inputs are also characterized. The diverse modes of spontaneous rhythmic activity evident in these scenarios are studied using bifurcation analysis. For “mild CLS injury”, a prominent feature is slow pump/leak-mediated EIon oscillations. These slow oscillations yield dynamic firing thresholds that underlie complex voltage STO and bursting behaviors. Thus, Nav-CLS, a biophysically justified mode of injury, in parallel with functioning pumps, robustly engenders an emergent slow process that triggers a plethora of pathological excitability patterns. This minimalist “device” could have physiological analogs. At first nodes of Ranvier and at nociceptors, e.g., localized lipid-tuning that modulated Nav midpoints could produce Nav-CLS, as could co-expression of appropriately differing Nav isoforms.
Author Summary
Nerve cells damaged by trauma, stroke, epilepsy, inflammatory conditions etc, have chronically leaky sodium channels that eventually kill. The usual job of sodium channels is to make brief voltage signals –action potentials– for long distance propagation. After sodium channels open to generate action potentials, sodium pumps work harder to re-establish the intracellular/extracellular sodium imbalance that is, literally, the neuron's battery for firing action potentials. Wherever tissue damage renders membranes overly fluid, we hypothesize, sodium channels become chronically leaky. Our experimental findings justify this. In fluidized membranes, sodium channel voltage sensors respond too easily, letting channels spend too much time open. Channels leak, pumps respond. By mathematical modeling, we show that in damaged channel-rich membranes the continual pump/leak counterplay would trigger the kinds of bizarre intermittent action potential bursts typical of injured neurons. Arising ectopically from injury regions, such neuropathic firing is unrelated to events in the external world. Drugs that can silence these deleterious electrical barrages without blocking healthy action potentials are needed. If fluidized membranes house the problematic leaky sodium channels, then drug side effects could be diminished by using drugs that accumulate most avidly into fluidized membranes, and that bind their targets with highest affinity there.
PMCID: PMC3441427  PMID: 23028273
13.  Being there: cellular targeting of voltage-gated sodium channels in the heart 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2008;180(1):13-15.
Voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channels in cardiomyocytes are localized in specialized membrane domains that optimize their functions in propagating action potentials across cell junctions and in stimulating voltage-gated calcium channels located in T tubules. Mutation of the ankyrin-binding site of Nav1.5, the principal Nav channel in the heart, was previously known to cause cardiac arrhythmia and the retention of Nav1.5 in an intracellular compartment in cardiomyocytes. Conclusive evidence is now provided that direct interaction between Nav1.5 and ankyrin-G is necessary for the expression of Nav1.5 at the cardiomyocyte cell surface.
PMCID: PMC2213601  PMID: 18180365
14.  Effects of ranolazine on wild-type and mutant hNav1.7 channels and on DRG neuron excitability 
Molecular Pain  2010;6:35.
A direct role of sodium channels in pain has recently been confirmed by establishing a monogenic link between SCN9A, the gene which encodes sodium channel Nav1.7, and pain disorders in humans, with gain-of-function mutations causing severe pain syndromes, and loss-of-function mutations causing congenital indifference to pain. Expression of sodium channel Nav1.8 in DRG neurons has also been shown to be essential for the manifestation of mutant Nav1.7-induced neuronal hyperexcitability. These findings have confirmed key roles of Nav1.7 and Nav1.8 in pain and identify these channels as novel targets for pain therapeutic development. Ranolazine preferentially blocks cardiac late sodium currents at concentrations that do not significantly reduce peak sodium current. Ranolazine also blocks wild-type Nav1.7 and Nav1.8 channels in a use-dependent manner. However, ranolazine's effects on gain-of-function mutations of Nav1.7 and on DRG neuron excitability have not been investigated. We used voltage- and current-clamp recordings to evaluate the hypothesis that ranolazine may be effective in regulating Nav1.7-induced DRG neuron hyperexcitability.
We show that ranolazine produces comparable block of peak and ramp currents of wild-type Nav1.7 and mutant Nav1.7 channels linked to Inherited Erythromelalgia and Paroxysmal Extreme Pain Disorder. We also show that ranolazine, at a clinically-relevant concentration, blocks high-frequency firing of DRG neurons expressing wild-type but not mutant channels.
Our data suggest that ranalozine can attenuate hyperexcitability of DRG neurons over-expressing wild-type Nav1.7 channels, as occurs in acquired neuropathic and inflammatory pain, and thus merits further study as an alternative to existing non-selective sodium channel blockers.
PMCID: PMC2898769  PMID: 20529343
15.  Cardiac Expression of Skeletal Muscle Sodium Channels Increases Longitudinal Conduction Velocity in the Canine One Week Myocardial Infarction 
Skeletal muscle sodium channel (Nav1.4) expression in border zone myocardium increases action potential upstroke velocity in depolarized isolated tissue. Because resting membrane potential in the 1 week canine infarct is reduced, we hypothesized that conduction velocity (CV) is greater in Nav1.4 dogs compared to control dogs.
To measure CV in the infarct border zone border in dogs with and without Nav1.4 expression.
Adenovirus was injected in the infarct border zone in 34 dogs. The adenovirus incorporated the Nav1.4- and a green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene (Nav1.4 group, n=16) or only GFP (n=18). After 1 week, upstroke velocity and CV were measured by sequential microelectrode recordings at 4 and 7 mM [K+] in superfused epicardial slabs. High density in vivo epicardial activation mapping was performed in a subgroup (8 Nav1.4, 6 GFP) at 3–4 locations in the border zone. Microscopy and antibody staining confirmed GFP or Nav1.4 expression.
Infarct sizes were similar between groups (30.6+/−3 % of LV mass, mean+/−SEM). Longitudinal CV was greater in Nav1.4- than in GFP- sites (58.5+/−1.8 vs 53.3+/−1.2 cm/s, 20 and 15 sites, respectively, p<0.05). Transverse CV was not different between the groups. In tissue slabs dV/dtmax was higher and CV was greater in Nav1.4 than in control at 7 mM [K+] (P<0.05). Immunohistochemical Nav1.4 staining was seen at the longitudinal ends of the myocytes.
Nav1.4 channels in myocardium surviving 1 week infarction increases longitudinal but not transverse CV, consistent with the increased dV/dtmax and with the cellular localization of Nav1.4.
PMCID: PMC3703522  PMID: 20385252
conduction; arrhythmias; gene therapy; skeletal muscle; sodium channel; myocardial infarction
16.  Calmodulin Regulation of NaV1.4 Current: Role of Binding to the Carboxyl Terminus 
The Journal of General Physiology  2008;131(3):197-209.
Calmodulin (CaM) regulates steady-state inactivation of sodium currents (NaV1.4) in skeletal muscle. Defects in Na current inactivation are associated with pathological muscle conditions such as myotonia and paralysis. The mechanisms of CaM modulation of expression and function of the Na channel are incompletely understood. A physical association between CaM and the intact C terminus of NaV1.4 has not previously been demonstrated. FRET reveals channel conformation-independent association of CaM with the C terminus of NaV1.4 (CT-NaV1.4) in mammalian cells. Mutation of the NaV1.4 CaM-binding IQ motif (NaV1.4IQ/AA) reduces cell surface expression of NaV1.4 channels and eliminates CaM modulation of gating. Truncations of the CT that include the IQ region abolish Na current. NaV1.4 channels with one CaM fused to the CT by variable length glycine linkers exhibit CaM modulation of gating only with linker lengths that allowed CaM to reach IQ region. Thus one CaM is sufficient to modulate Na current, and CaM acts as an ancillary subunit of NaV1.4 channels that binds to the CT in a conformation-independent fashion, modulating the voltage dependence of inactivation and facilitating trafficking to the surface membrane.
PMCID: PMC2248716  PMID: 18270170
17.  Acidosis Differentially Modulates Inactivation in NaV1.2, NaV1.4, and NaV1.5 Channels 
NaV channels play a crucial role in neuronal and muscle excitability. Using whole-cell recordings we studied effects of low extracellular pH on the biophysical properties of NaV1.2, NaV1.4, and NaV1.5, expressed in cultured mammalian cells. Low pH produced different effects on different channel subtypes. Whereas NaV1.4 exhibited very low sensitivity to acidosis, primarily limited to partial block of macroscopic currents, the effects of low pH on gating in NaV1.2 and NaV1.5 were profound. In NaV1.2 low pH reduced apparent valence of steady-state fast inactivation, shifted the τ(V) to depolarizing potentials and decreased channels availability during onset to slow and use-dependent inactivation (UDI). In contrast, low pH delayed open-state inactivation in NaV1.5, right-shifted the voltage-dependence of window current, and increased channel availability during onset to slow and UDI. These results suggest that protons affect channel availability in an isoform-specific manner. A computer model incorporating these results demonstrates their effects on membrane excitability.
PMCID: PMC3372088  PMID: 22701426
gating; activation; fast inactivation; slow inactivation; patch-clamp; sodium channels
18.  Calcium-Mediated Dual-Mode Regulation of Cardiac Sodium Channel Gating 
Circulation research  2009;104(7):870-878.
Intracellular Ca2+ ([Ca2+]i) can trigger dual-mode regulation of the voltage gated cardiac sodium channel (NaV1.5). The channel components of the Ca2+ regulatory system are the calmodulin (CaM)-binding IQ motif and the Ca2+ sensing EF hand–like (EFL) motif in the carboxyl terminus of the channel. Mutations in either motif have been associated with arrhythmogenic changes in expressed NaV1.5 currents. Increases in [Ca2+]i shift the steady-state inactivation of NaV1.5 in the depolarizing direction and slow entry into inactivated states. Mutation of the EFL (NaV1.54X) shifts inactivation in the hyperpolarizing direction compared with the wild-type channel and eliminates the Ca2+ sensitivity of inactivation gating. Modulation of the steady-state availability of NaV1.5 by [Ca2+]i is more pronounced after the truncation of the carboxyl terminus proximal to the IQ motif (NaV1.5Δ1885), which retains the EFL. Mutating the EFL (NaV1.54X) unmasks CaM-mediated regulation of the kinetics and voltage dependence of inactivation. This latent CaM modulation of inactivation is eliminated by mutation of the IQ motif (NaV1.54X-IQ/AA). The LQT3 EFL mutant channel NaV1.5D1790G exhibits Ca2+ insensitivity and unmasking of CaM regulation of inactivation gating. The enhanced effect of CaM on NaV1.54X gating is associated with significantly greater fluorescence resonance energy transfer between enhanced cyan fluorescent protein–CaM and NaV1.54X channels than is observed with wild-type NaV1.5. Unlike other isoforms of the Na channel, the IQ-CaM interaction in the carboxyl terminus of NaV1.5 is latent under physiological conditions but may become manifest in the presence of disease causing mutations in the CT of NaV1.5 (particularly in the EFL), contributing to the production of potentially lethal ventricular arrhythmias.
PMCID: PMC2860428  PMID: 19265034
voltage-gated sodium channel; EF hand motif; IQ motif; calmodulin; FRET
19.  Cell Membrane Expression of Cardiac Sodium Channel Nav1.5 Is Modulated by α-Actinin-2 Interaction† 
Biochemistry  2010;49(1):166-178.
Cardiac sodium channel Nav1.5 plays a critical role in heart excitability and conduction. The molecular mechanism that underlies the expression of Nav1.5 at the cell membrane is poorly understood. Previous studies demonstrated that cytoskeleton proteins can be involved in the regulation of cell surface expression and localization of several ion channels. We performed a yeast two-hybrid screen to identify Nav1.5-associated proteins that may be involved in channel function and expression. We identified α-actinin-2 as an interacting partner of the cytoplasmic loop connecting domains III and IV of Nav1.5 (Nav1.5/LIII–IV). Co-immunoprecipitation and His6 pull-down assays confirmed the physical association between Nav1.5 and α-actinin-2 and showed that the spectrin-like repeat domain is essential for binding of α-actinin-2 to Nav1.5. Patch-clamp studies revealed that the interaction with α-actinin-2 increases sodium channel density without changing their gating properties. Consistent with these findings, coexpression of α-actinin-2 and Nav1.5 in tsA201 cells led to an increase in the level of expression of Nav1.5 at the cell membrane as determined by cell surface biotinylation. Lastly, immunostaining experiments showed that α-actinin-2 was colocalized with Nav1.5 along the Z-lines and in the plasma membrane. Our data suggest that α-actinin-2, which is known to regulate the functional expression of the potassium channels, may play a role in anchoring Nav1.5 to the membrane by connecting the channel to the actin cytoskeleton network.
PMCID: PMC2920038  PMID: 19943616
20.  Functional up-regulation of Nav1.8 sodium channel in Aβ afferent fibers subjected to chronic peripheral inflammation 
Functional alterations in the properties of Aβ afferent fibers may account for the increased pain sensitivity observed under peripheral chronic inflammation. Among the voltage-gated sodium channels involved in the pathophysiology of pain, Nav1.8 has been shown to participate in the peripheral sensitization of nociceptors. However, to date, there is no evidence for a role of Nav1.8 in controlling Aβ-fiber excitability following persistent inflammation.
Distribution and expression of Nav1.8 in dorsal root ganglia and sciatic nerves were qualitatively or quantitatively assessed by immunohistochemical staining and by real time-polymerase chain reaction at different time points following complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA) administration. Using a whole-cell patch-clamp configuration, we further determined both total INa and TTX-R Nav1.8 currents in large-soma dorsal root ganglia (DRG) neurons isolated from sham or CFA-treated rats. Finally, we analyzed the effects of ambroxol, a Nav1.8-preferring blocker on the electrophysiological properties of Nav1.8 currents and on the mechanical sensitivity and inflammation of the hind paw in CFA-treated rats.
Our findings revealed that Nav1.8 is up-regulated in NF200-positive large sensory neurons and is subsequently anterogradely transported from the DRG cell bodies along the axons toward the periphery after CFA-induced inflammation. We also demonstrated that both total INa and Nav1.8 peak current densities are enhanced in inflamed large myelinated Aβ-fiber neurons. Persistent inflammation leading to nociception also induced time-dependent changes in Aβ-fiber neuron excitability by shifting the voltage-dependent activation of Nav1.8 in the hyperpolarizing direction, thus decreasing the current threshold for triggering action potentials. Finally, we found that ambroxol significantly reduces the potentiation of Nav1.8 currents in Aβ-fiber neurons observed following intraplantar CFA injection and concomitantly blocks CFA-induced mechanical allodynia, suggesting that Nav1.8 regulation in Aβ-fibers contributes to inflammatory pain.
Collectively, these findings support a key role for Nav1.8 in controlling the excitability of Aβ-fibers and its potential contribution to the development of mechanical allodynia under persistent inflammation.
PMCID: PMC4007624  PMID: 24606981
Aβ-fibers; Allodynia; Complete Freund’s adjuvant; Electrophysiology; Sodium channel blocker
21.  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
22.  Bioluminescence Methodology for the Detection of Protein–Protein Interactions Within the Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel Macromolecular Complex 
Protein–protein interactions are critical molecular determinants of ion channel function and emerging targets for pharmacological interventions. Yet, current methodologies for the rapid detection of ion channel macromolecular complexes are still lacking. In this study we have adapted a split-luciferase complementation assay (LCA) for detecting the assembly of the voltage-gated Na+ (Nav) channel C-tail and the intracellular fibroblast growth factor 14 (FGF14), a functionally relevant component of the Nav channelosome that controls gating and targeting of Nav channels through direct interaction with the channel C-tail. In the LCA, two complementary N-terminus and C-terminus fragments of the firefly luciferase were fused, respectively, to a chimera of the CD4 transmembrane segment and the C-tail of Nav1.6 channel (CD4-Nav1.6-NLuc) or FGF14 (CLuc-FGF14). Co-expression of CLuc-FGF14 and CD4-Nav1.6-NLuc in live cells led to a robust assembly of the FGF14:Nav1.6 C-tail complex, which was attenuated by introducing single-point mutations at the predicted FGF14:Nav channel interface. To evaluate the dynamic regulation of the FGF14:Nav1.6 C-tail complex by signaling pathways, we investigated the effect of kinase inhibitors on the complex formation. Through a platform of counter screenings, we show that the p38/MAPK inhibitor, PD169316, and the IκB kinase inhibitor, BAY 11-7082, reduce the FGF14:Nav1.6 C-tail complementation, highlighting a potential role of the p38MAPK and the IκB/NFκB pathways in controlling neuronal excitability through protein–protein interactions. We envision the methodology presented here as a new valuable tool to allow functional evaluations of protein–channel complexes toward probe development and drug discovery targeting ion channels implicated in human disorders.
PMCID: PMC3362325  PMID: 22364545
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.  Human and Rat Nav1.3 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channels Differ in Inactivation Properties and Sensitivity to the Pyrethroid Insecticide Tefluthrin 
Neurotoxicology  2008;30(1):81-89.
Voltage-gated sodium channels are important sites for the neurotoxic actions of pyrethroid insecticides in mammals. The pore-forming α subunits of mammalian sodium channels are encoded by a family of 9 genes, designated Nav1.1 - Nav1.9. Native sodium channels in the adult central nervous system (CNS) are heterotrimeric complexes of one of these 9 α subunits and two auxiliary (β) subunits. Here we compare the functional properties and pyrethroid sensitivity of the rat and human Nav1.3 isoforms, which are abundantly expressed in the developing CNS. Coexpression of the rat Nav1.3 and human Nav1.3 α subunits in combination with their conspecific β1 and β2 subunits in Xenopus laevis oocytes gave channels with markedly different inactivation properties and sensitivities to the pyrethroid insecticide tefluthrin. Rat Nav1.3 channels inactivated more slowly than human Nav1.3 channels during a depolarizing pulse. The rat and human channels also differed in their voltage dependence of steady-state inactivation. Exposure of rat and human Nav1.3 channels to 100 μM tefluthrin in the resting state produced populations of channels that activated, inactivated and deactivated more slowly than unmodified channels. For both rat and human channels, application of trains of depolarizing prepulses enhanced the extent of tefluthrin modification approximately twofold; this result implies that tefluthrin may bind to both the resting and open states of the channel. Modification of rat Nav1.3 channels by 100 μM tefluthrin was four-fold greater than that measured in parallel assays with human Nav1.3 channels. Human Nav1.3 channels were also less sensitive to tefluthrin than rat Nav1.2 channels, which are considered to be relatively insensitive to pyrethroids. These data provide the first direct comparison of the functional and pharmacological properties of orthologous rat and human sodium channels and demonstrate that orthologous channels with a high degree of amino acid sequence conservation differ in both their functional properties and their sensitivities to pyrethroid insecticides.
PMCID: PMC2696113  PMID: 19026681
Nav1.3; oocyte; sodium channel; pyrethroid; tefluthrin; rat; human
25.  FGF14 Localization and Organization of the Axon Initial Segment 
The axon initial segment (AIS) is highly enriched in the structural proteins ankyrin G and βIV-spectrin, the pore-forming (α) subunits of voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channels, and functional Nav channels, and is critical for the initiation of action potentials. We previously reported that FGF14, a member of the intracellular FGF (iFGF) sub-family, is expressed in cerebellar Purkinje neurons and that the targeted inactivation of Fgf14 in mice (Fgf14−/−) results in markedly reduced Purkinje neuron excitability. Here, we demonstrate that FGF14 immunoreactivity is high in the AIS of Purkinje neurons and is distributed in a decreasing, proximal to distal, gradient. This pattern is evident early in the postnatal development of Purkinje neurons and is also observed in many other types of central neurons. In ( Scn8amed) mice, which are deficient in expression of the Nav1.6 α subunit, FGF14 immunoreactivity is markedly increased and expanded in the Purkinje neuron AIS, in parallel with increased expression of the Nav1.1 (Scn1a) α subunit and expanded expression of βIV-spectrin. Although Nav1.1, FGF14, and βIV-spectrin are affected, ankyrin G immunoreactivity at the AIS of Scn8amed and wild type (WT) Purkinje neurons was not significantly different. In Fgf14−/− Purkinje neurons, βIV-spectrin and ankyrin G immunoreactivity at the AIS were also similar to WT Purkinje neurons, although both the Nav1.1 and Nav1.6 α subunits are modestly, but significantly (P<0.005), reduced within sub-domains of the AIS, changes that may contribute to the reduced excitability of Fgf14−/− Purkinje neurons.
PMCID: PMC3791165  PMID: 23891806
Purkinje neuron; axon initial segment; AIS; iFGF; FGF14; voltage-gated sodium channel; Nav1.1; Scn1a; Nav1.6; Scn8a; ankyrin G; βIV-spectrin

Results 1-25 (1200412)