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1.  Actions of Tefluthrin on Rat Nav1.7 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channels Expressed in Xenopus Oocytes 
In rats expression of the Nav1.7 voltage-gated sodium channel isoform is restricted to the peripheral nervous system and is abundant in the sensory neurons of the dorsal root ganglion. We expressed the rat Nav1.7 sodium channel α subunit together with the rat auxiliary β1 and β2 subunits in Xenopus laevis oocytes and assessed the effects of the pyrethroid insecticide tefluthrin on the expressed currents using the two-electrode voltage clamp method. Tefluthrin at 100 µM modified of Nav1.7 channels to prolong inactivation of the peak current during a depolarizing pulse, resulting in a marked "late current" at the end of a 40-ms depolarization, and induced a sodium tail current following repolarization. Tefluthrin modification was enhanced up to two-fold by the application of a train of up to 100 5-ms depolarizing prepulses. These effects of tefluthrin on Nav1.7 channels were qualitatively similar to its effects on rat Nav1.2, Nav1.3 and Nav1.6 channels assayed previously under identical conditions. However, Nav1.7 sodium channels were distinguished by their low sensitivity to modification by tefluthrin, especially compared to Nav1.3 and Nav1.6 channels. It is likely that Nav1.7 channels contribute significantly to the tetrodotoxin-sensitive, pyrethroid-resistant current found in cultured dorsal root ganglion neurons. We aligned the complete amino acid sequences of four pyrethroid-sensitive isoforms (house fly Vssc1; rat Nav1.3, Nav1.6 and Nav1.8) and two pyrethroid-resistant isoforms (rat Nav1.2 and Nav1.7) and found only a single site, located in transmembrane segment 6 of homology domain I, at which the amino acid sequence was conserved among all four sensitive isoform sequences but differed in the two resistant isoform sequences. This position, corresponding to Val410 of the house fly Vssc1 sequence, also aligns with sites of multiple amino acid substitutions identified in the sodium channel sequences of pyrethroid-resistant insect populations. These results implicate this single amino acid polymorphism in transmembrane segment 6 of sodium channel homology domain I as a determinant of the differential pyrethroid sensitivity of rat sodium channel isoforms.
PMCID: PMC3181098  PMID: 21966053
voltage-gated sodium channel; Nav1.7 isoform; pyrethroid; tefluthrin; peripheral nervous system; dorsal root ganglion
2.  Differential State-Dependent Modification of Rat Nav1.6 Sodium Channels Expressed in Human Embryonic Kidney (HEK293) Cells by the Pyrethroid Insecticides Tefluthrin and Deltamethrin 
Toxicology and applied pharmacology  2011;257(3):377-387.
We expressed rat Nav1.6 sodium channels in combination with the rat β1 and β2 auxiliary subunits in human embryonic kidney (HEK293) cells and evaluated the effects of the pyrethroid insecticides tefluthrin and deltamethrin on expressed sodium currents using the whole-cell patch clamp technique. Both pyrethroids produced concentration-dependent, resting modification of Nav1.6 channels, prolonging the kinetics of channel inactivation and deactivation to produce persistent “late” currents during depolarization and tail currents following repolarization. Both pyrethroids also produced concentration dependent hyperpolarizing shifts in the voltage dependence of channel activation and steady-state inactivation. Maximal shifts in activation, determined from the voltage dependence of the pyrethroid-induced late and tail currents, were ~25 mV for tefluthrin and ~20 mV for deltamethrin. The highest attainable concentrations of these compounds also caused shifts of ~5–10 mV in the voltage dependence of steady-state inactivation. In addition to their effects on the voltage dependence of inactivation, both compounds caused concentration-dependent increases in the fraction of sodium current that was resistant to inactivation following strong depolarizing prepulses. We assessed the use-dependent effects of tefluthrin and deltamethrin on Nav1.6 channels by determining the effect of trains of 1 to 100 5-ms depolarizing prepulses at frequencies of 20 or 66.7 Hz on the extent of channel modification. Repetitive depolarization at either frequency increased modification by deltamethrin by ~2.3-fold but had no effect on modification by tefluthrin. Tefluthrin and deltamethrin were equally potent as modifiers of Nav1.6 channels in HEK293 cells using the conditions producing maximal modification as the basis for comparison. These findings show that the actions of tefluthrin and deltamethrin of Nav1.6 channels in HEK293 cells differ from the effects of these compounds on Nav1.6 channels in Xenopus oocytes and more closely reflect the actions of pyrethroids on channels in their native neuronal environment.
PMCID: PMC3226847  PMID: 21983428
voltage-gated sodium channel; Nav1.6 isoform; pyrethroid; deltamethrin; tefluthrin; HEK293 cells
3.  Differential state-dependent modification of inactivation-deficient Nav1.6 sodium channels by the pyrethroid insecticides S-bioallethrin, tefluthrin and deltamethrin 
Neurotoxicology  2012;33(3):384-390.
Pyrethroid insecticides disrupt nerve function by modifying the gating kinetics of transitions between the conducting and nonconducting states of voltage-gated sodium channels. Pyrethroids modify rat Nav1.6 + β1 + β2 channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes in both the resting state and in one or more states that require channel activation by repeated depolarization. The state dependence of modification depends on the pyrethroid examined: deltamethrin modification requires repeated channel activation, tefluthrin modification is significantly enhanced by repeated channel activation, and S-bioallethrin modification is unaffected by repeated activation. Use-dependent modification by deltamethrin and tefluthrin implies that these compounds bind preferentially to open channels. We constructed the rat Nav1.6Q3 cDNA, which contained the IFM/QQQ mutation in the inactivation gate domain that prevents fast inactivation and results in a persistently open channel. We expressed Nav1.6Q3 + β1 + β2 sodium channels in Xenopus oocytes and assessed the modification of open channels by pyrethroids by determining the effect of depolarizing pulse length on the normalized conductance of the pyrethroid-induced sodium tail current. Deltamethrin caused little modification of Nav1.6Q3 following short (10 ms) depolarizations, but prolonged depolarizations (up to 150 ms) caused a progressive increase in channel modification measured as an increase in the conductance of the pyrethroid-induced sodium tail current. Modification by tefluthrin was clearly detectable following short depolarizations and was increased by long depolarizations. By contrast modification by S-bioallethrin following short depolarizations was not altered by prolonged depolarization. These studies provide direct evidence for the preferential binding of deltamethrin and tefluthrin (but not S-bioallethrin) to Nav1.6Q3 channels in the open state and imply that the pyrethroid receptor of resting and open channels occupies different conformations that exhibit distinct structure–activity relationships.
PMCID: PMC3574822  PMID: 22465659
Sodium channel; Nav1.6; Use-dependent modification; Deltamethrin; S-bioallethrin; Tefluthrin
4.  Coexpression with Auxiliary β Subunits Modulates the Action of Tefluthrin on Rat Nav1.6 and Nav1.3 Sodium Channels 
We expressed the rat Nav1.3 and Nav1.6 sodium channel α subunit isoforms in Xenopus oocytes either alone or with the rat β1 and β2 auxiliary subunits in various combinations and assessed the sensitivity of the expressed channels to resting and use-dependent modification by the pyrethroid insecticide tefluthrin using the two-electrode voltage clamp technique. Coexpression with the β1 and β2 subunits, either individually or in combination, did not affecting the resting sensitivity of Nav1.6 channels to tefluthrin. Modification by tefluthrin of Nav1.6 channels in the absence of β subunits was not altered by the application of trains of high-frequency depolarizing prepulses. By contrast, coexpression of the Nav1.6 channel with the β1 subunit enhanced the extent of channel modification twofold following repeated depolarization. Coexpression of Nav1.6 with the β2 subunit also slightly enhanced modification following repeated depolarization, but coexpression of Nav1.6 with both β subunits caused enhanced modification following repeated depolarization that was indistinguishable from that found with Nav1.6+β1 channels. In contrast to Nav1.6, the resting modification by tefluthrin of Nav1.3 channels expressed in the absence of β subunits was reduced by repeated depolarization. However, tefluthrin modification of the Nav1.3 α subunit expressed with both β subunits was enhanced 1.7-fold by repeated depolarization, thereby confirming that β subunit modulation of use-dependent effects was not confined to the Nav1.6 isoform. These results show that the actions of pyrethroids on mammalian sodium channels in the Xenopus oocyte expression system are determined in part by the interactions of the sodium channel α subunit with the auxiliary β subunits that are part of the heteromultimeric sodium channel complexes found in neurons and other excitable cells.
PMCID: PMC3346283  PMID: 22577241
voltage-gated sodium channels; Nav1.6 isoform; Nav1.3 isoform; β subunit; voltage clamp; tefluthrin
5.  Divergent Actions of the Pyrethroid Insecticides S-Bioallethrin, Tefluthrin and Deltamethrin on Rat Nav1.6 Sodium Channels 
Toxicology and applied pharmacology  2010;247(3):229-237.
We expressed rat Nav1.6 sodium channels in combination with the rat β1 and β2 auxiliary subunits in Xenopus laevis oocytes and evaluated the effects of the pyrethroid insecticides S-bioallethrin, deltamethrin and tefluthrin on expressed sodium currents using the two-electrode voltage clamp technique. S-Bioallethrin, a Type I structure, produced transient modification evident in the induction of rapidly-decaying sodium tail currents, weak resting modification (5.7% modification at 100 μM), and no further enhancement of modification upon repetitive activation by high-frequency trains of depolarizing pulses. By contrast deltamethrin, a Type II structure, produced sodium tail currents that were ~9-fold more persistent than those caused by S-bioallethrin, barely detectable resting modification (2.5% modification at 100 μM), and 3.7-fold enhancement of modification upon repetitive activation. Tefluthrin, a Type I structure with high mammalian toxicity, exhibited properties intermediate between S-bioallethrin and deltamethrin: intermediate tail current decay kinetics, much greater resting modification (14.1% at 100 μM), and 2.8-fold enhancement of resting modification upon repetitive activation. Comparison of concentration–effect data showed that repetitive depolarization increased the potency of tefluthrin ~15-fold and that tefluthrin was ~10-fold more potent than deltamethrin as a use-dependent modifier of Nav1.6 sodium channels. Concentration–effect data from parallel experiments with the rat Nav1.2 sodium channel co-expressed with the rat β1 and β2 subunits in oocytes showed that the Nav1.6 isoform was at least 15-fold more sensitive to tefluthrin and deltamethrin than the Nav1.2 isoform. These results implicate sodium channels containing the Nav1.6 isoform as potential targets for the central neurotoxic effects of pyrethroids.
PMCID: PMC2929565  PMID: 20624410
voltage-gated sodium channel; Nav1.6 isoform; pyrethroid; S-bioallethrin; deltamethrin; tefluthrin
6.  Human Embryonic Kidney (HEK293) Cells Express Endogenous Voltage-Gated Sodium Currents and Nav1.7 Sodium Channels 
Neuroscience letters  2009;469(2):268.
Human embryonic kidney (HEK293) cells are widely used for the heterologous expression of voltage- and ligand-gated ion channels. Patch clamp analysis of HEK293 cells in the whole-cell configuration identified voltage-gated, rapidly inactivating inward currents. Peak current amplitudes ranged from less than 100 pA to more than 800 pA, with the majority (84 of 130 cells) in the 100–400 pA range. Transient inward currents were separated into three components on the basis of sensitivity to cadmium and tetrodotoxin (TTX). Application of cadmium (300 μM) reduced current amplitude to 65% of control, consistent with the existence of current carried by a cadmium -sensitive nonspecific cation channel previously identified in HEK293 cells. Application of TTX (500 nM) reduced current amplitude by 47%, consistent with the existence of current carried by a TTX-sensitive voltage-gated sodium channel. Joint application of cadmium and TTX was additive, reducing current amplitude to 28% of control. The residual cadmium- and TTX-resistant current represents a third pharmacologically distinct component of the rapidly inactivating inward current that was not characterized further. The pyrethroid insecticide tefluthrin (10 μM) prolonged the inactivation of transient currents and induced slowly decaying tail currents, effects that are characteristic of sodium channel modification by pyrethroids. The use of sodium channel isoform-specific primers in polymerase chain reaction amplifications on HEK293 cell first-strand cDNA detected the consistent expression of the human Nav1.7 sodium channel isoform in cells that expressed the TTX-sensitive component of current. These results provide evidence for an endogenous TTX-sensitive sodium current in HEK293 cells that is associated primarily with the expression of the Nav1.7 sodium channel isoform.
PMCID: PMC2815232  PMID: 20006571
HEK293 cells; sodium channels; Nav1.7; tetrodotoxin; tefluthrin
7.  Functional Expression of Rat Nav1.6 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channels in HEK293 Cells: Modulation by the Auxiliary β1 Subunit 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85188.
The Nav1.6 voltage-gated sodium channel α subunit isoform is abundantly expressed in the adult rat brain. To assess the functional modulation of Nav1.6 channels by the auxiliary β1 subunit we expressed the rat Nav1.6 sodium channel α subunit by stable transformation in HEK293 cells either alone or in combination with the rat β1 subunit and assessed the properties of the reconstituted channels by recording sodium currents using the whole-cell patch clamp technique. Coexpression with the β1 subunit accelerated the inactivation of sodium currents and shifted the voltage dependence of channel activation and steady-state fast inactivation by approximately 5–7 mV in the direction of depolarization. By contrast the β1 subunit had no effect on the stability of sodium currents following repeated depolarizations at high frequencies. Our results define modulatory effects of the β1 subunit on the properties of rat Nav1.6-mediated sodium currents reconstituted in HEK293 cells that differ from effects measured previously in the Xenopus oocyte expression system. We also identify differences in the kinetic and gating properties of the rat Nav1.6 channel expressed in the absence of the β1 subunit compared to the properties of the orthologous mouse and human channels expressed in this system.
PMCID: PMC3880341  PMID: 24404202
8.  A residue in the transmembrane segment 6 of domain I in insect and mammalian sodium channels regulate differential sensitivities to pyrethroid insecticides 
Neurotoxicology  2013;38:42-50.
Voltage-gated sodium channels are critical for electrical signaling in the nervous system. Pyrethroid insecticides exert their toxic action by modifying the gating of sodium channels. A valine to methionine mutation in the transmembrane segment 6 of domain I (IS6) of sodium channels from tobacco budworms (Heliothis virescens) has been shown to alter channel gating and reduce insect sodium channel sensitivity to pyrethroids. A valine to leucine substitution was subsequently reported in pyrethroid-resistant bedbug populations. Intriguingly, pyrethroid-resistant mammalian sodium channels possess an isoleucine at the corresponding position. To determine whether different substitutions at this position alter channel gating and confer pyrethroid resistance, we made valine to methionine, isoleucine or leucine substitutions at the corresponding position, V409, in a cockroach sodium channel and examined the gating properties and pyrethroid sensitivity of the three mutants in Xenopus oocytes. All three mutations reduced the channel sensitivity to three pyrethroids (permethrin, cismethrin and deltamethrin). V409M, but not V409I or V409L, caused 6-7 mV depolarizing shifts in the voltage dependences of both activation and inactivation. V409M and V409L slowed channel activation kinetics and accelerated open-state deactivation kinetics, but V409I did not. Furthermore, the substitution of isoleucine with valine, but not with methionine nor leucine, at the corresponding position in a rat skeletal muscle sodium channel, rNav1.4, enhanced channel sensitivity to deltamethrin. Collectively, our study highlights an important role of residues at 409 in regulating not only sodium channel gating, but also the differential sensitivities of insect and mammalian sodium channels to pyrethroids.
PMCID: PMC3773218  PMID: 23764339
voltage-gated ion channels; pyrethroids; knockdown resistance; kdr mutations
9.  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
10.  Compound-Specific Effects of Mutations at Val787 in DII-S6 of Nav1.4 Sodium Channels on the Action of Sodium Channel Inhibitor Insecticides 
Neurotoxicology  2012;33(5):1381-1389.
Sodium channel inhibitor (SCI) insecticides are hypothesized to inhibit voltage-gated sodium channels by binding selectively to the slow-inactivated state. Replacement of valine at position 787 in the S6 segment of homology domain II of the rat Nav1.4 sodium channel by lysine (V787K) enchances slow inactivation of this channel whereas replacement by alanine or cysteine (V787A, V787C) inhibits slow inactivation. To test the hypothesis that SCI insecticides bind selectively to the slow-inactivated state, we constructed mutated Nav1.4/V787A, Nav1.4/V787C, and Nav1.4/V787K cDNAs, expressed wildtype and mutated channels with the auxiliary β1 subunit in Xenopus oocytes, and used the two-electrode voltage clamp technique to examine the effects of these mutations on channel inhibition by four SCI insecticides (indoxacarb, its bioactivated metabolite DCJW, metaflumizone, and RH3421). Mutations at Val787 affected SCI insecticide sensitivity in a manner that was independent of mutation-induced changes in slow inactivation gating. Sensitivity to inhibition by 10 μM indoxacarb was significantly increased in all three mutated channels, whereas sensitivity to inhibition by 10 μM metaflumizone was significantly reduced in Nav1.4/V787A channels and completely abolished in Nav1.4/V787K channels. The effects of Val787 mutations on metaflumizone were correlated with the hydrophobicity of the substituted amino acid rather than the extent of slow inactivation. None of the mutations at Val787 significantly affected the sensitivity to inhibition by DCJW or RH3421. These results demonstrate that the impact of mutations at Val787 on sodium channel inhibition by SCI insecticides depends on the specific insecticide examined and is independent of mutation-induced changes in slow inactivation gating. We propose that Val787 may be a unique determinant of metaflumizone binding.
PMCID: PMC3484372  PMID: 22983119
Sodium channel; inhibition; insecticide; slow inactivation; indoxacarb; metaflumizone
11.  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
12.  Independent and Joint Modulation of Rat Nav1.6 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channels by Coexpression with the Auxiliary β1 and β2 Subunits 
The Nav1.6 voltage-gated sodium channel α subunit isoform is the most abundant isoform in the brain and is implicated in the transmission of high frequency action potentials. Purification and immunocytochemical studies imply that Nav1.6 exist predominantly as Nav1.6+β1+β2 heterotrimeric complexes. We assessed the independent and joint effects of the rat β1 and β2 subunits on the gating and kinetic properties of rat Nav1.6 channels by recording whole-cell currents in the two-electrode voltage clamp configuration following transient expression in Xenopus oocytes. The β1 subunit accelerated fast inactivation of sodium currents but had no effect on the voltage dependence of their activation and steady-state inactivation and also prevented the decline of currents following trains of high-frequency depolarizing prepulses. The β2 subunit selectively retarded the fast phase of fast inactivation and shifted the voltage dependence of activation towards depolarization without affecting other gating properties and had no effect on the decline of currents following repeated depolarization. The β1 and β2 subunits expressed together accelerated both kinetic phases of fast inactivation, shifted the voltage dependence of activation towards hyperpolarization, and gave currents with a persistent component typical of those recorded from neurons expressing Nav1.6 sodium channels. These results identify unique effects of the β1 and β2 subunits and demonstrate that joint modulation by both auxiliary subunits gives channel properties that are not predicted by the effects of individual subunits.
PMCID: PMC3082003  PMID: 21439942
voltage-gated sodium channels; Nav1.6; β subunits; voltage clamp; kinetics; steady-state properties
13.  Voltage-gated sodium channels were differentially expressed in human normal prostate, benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer cells 
Oncology Letters  2014;8(1):345-350.
Voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSCs) are expressed not only in excitable cells but also in numerous metastatic cells, particularly in certain types of cancer cells. In some types of cancer, including prostate cancer, the expression of VGSCs is associated with cancer migration, invasion and metastasis in vivo. However, the detailed expression profiles of VGSC α subunits in normal human prostate, in prostatic hyperplasia and prostatic cancer remain controversial. In the present study, quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to systematically detect all subtypes of VGSC α subunits in normal human prostate, benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer cells. The expression profile of VGSC α subunits was observed to differ between these cell types. Nav1.5 was the major isoform expressed in normal human prostate tissue, while Nav1.5 and Nav1.2 were the predominant isoforms in BPH tissue. However, in PC-3 and LNCaP cells, two typical prostate cancer cell lines, Nav1.6 and Nav1.7 were abundantly expressed. By comparing the relative expression levels of Nav1.5, Nav1.6 and Nav1.7 in these cells, the mRNA levels of Nav1.6 and Nav1.7 were identified to be 6- to 27-fold higher in PC-3 and LNCaP cells than in either normal or BPH samples (P<0.05); however, Nav1.5 mRNA levels were relatively lower compared with those of Nav1.6 or Nav1.7 in all cells analyzed. To confirm whether Nav1.6 and Nav1.7 expression in cancer cells was functional, a patch-clamp technique was used to record whole-cell currents. A tetrodotoxin-sensitive sodium current was successfully recorded in PC-3 cells, but not in LNCaP cells. It was concluded that although all types of VGSC α subunits exhibited low expression levels in normal prostate and BPH cells, both Nav1.6 and Nav1.7 were significantly upregulated in the prostate cancer cell lines, suggesting these subtypes may be potential diagnostic markers and therapeutic targets for certain types of prostate cancer in humans.
PMCID: PMC4063587  PMID: 24959274
voltage-gated sodium channel; mRNA; prostate; cancer; benign prostatic hyperplasia
14.  Differential Effects of TipE and a TipE-Homologous Protein on Modulation of Gating Properties of Sodium Channels from Drosophila melanogaster 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e67551.
β subunits of mammalian sodium channels play important roles in modulating the expression and gating of mammalian sodium channels. However, there are no orthologs of β subunits in insects. Instead, an unrelated protein, TipE in Drosophila melanogaster and its orthologs in other insects, is thought to be a sodium channel auxiliary subunit. In addition, there are four TipE-homologous genes (TEH1-4) in D. melanogaster and three to four orthologs in other insect species. TipE and TEH1-3 have been shown to enhance the peak current of various insect sodium channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes. However, limited information is available on how these proteins modulate the gating of sodium channels, particularly sodium channel variants generated by alternative splicing and RNA editing. In this study, we compared the effects of TEH1 and TipE on the function of three Drosophila sodium channel splice variants, DmNav9-1, DmNav22, and DmNav26, in Xenopus oocytes. Both TipE and TEH1 enhanced the amplitude of sodium current and accelerated current decay of all three sodium channels tested. Strikingly, TEH1 caused hyperpolarizing shifts in the voltage-dependence of activation, fast inactivation and slow inactivation of all three variants. In contrast, TipE did not alter these gating properties except for a hyperpolarizing shift in the voltage-dependence of fast inactivation of DmNav26. Further analysis of the gating kinetics of DmNav9-1 revealed that TEH1 accelerated the entry of sodium channels into the fast inactivated state and slowed the recovery from both fast- and slow-inactivated states, thereby, enhancing both fast and slow inactivation. These results highlight the differential effects of TipE and TEH1 on the gating of insect sodium channels and suggest that TEH1 may play a broader role than TipE in regulating sodium channel function and neuronal excitability in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3715519  PMID: 23874427
15.  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
16.  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
17.  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
18.  Intron Retention in mRNA Encoding Ancillary Subunit of Insect Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel Modulates Channel Expression, Gating Regulation and Drug Sensitivity 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e67290.
Insect voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channels are formed by a well-known pore-forming α-subunit encoded by para-like gene and ancillary subunits related to TipE from the mutation “temperature-induced-paralysis locus E.” The role of these ancillary subunits in the modulation of biophysical and pharmacological properties of Na+ currents are not enough documented. The unique neuronal ancillary subunit TipE-homologous protein 1 of Drosophila melanogaster (DmTEH1) strongly enhances the expression of insect Nav channels when heterologously expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Here we report the cloning and functional expression of two neuronal DmTEH1-homologs of the cockroach, Periplaneta americana, PaTEH1A and PaTEH1B, encoded by a single bicistronic gene. In PaTEH1B, the second exon encoding the last 11-amino-acid residues of PaTEH1A is shifted to 3′UTR by the retention of a 96-bp intron-containing coding-message, thus generating a new C-terminal end. We investigated the gating and pharmacological properties of the Drosophila Nav channel variant (DmNav1-1) co-expressed with DmTEH1, PaTEH1A, PaTEH1B or a truncated mutant PaTEH1Δ(270-280) in Xenopus oocytes. PaTEH1B caused a 2.2-fold current density decrease, concomitant with an equivalent α-subunit incorporation decrease in the plasma membrane, compared to PaTEH1A and PaTEH1Δ(270-280). PaTEH1B positively shifted the voltage-dependences of activation and slow inactivation of DmNav1-1 channels to more positive potentials compared to PaTEH1A, suggesting that the C-terminal end of both proteins may influence the function of the voltage-sensor and the pore of Nav channel. Interestingly, our findings showed that the sensitivity of DmNav1-1 channels to lidocaine and to the pyrazoline-type insecticide metabolite DCJW depends on associated TEH1-like subunits. In conclusion, our work demonstrates for the first time that density, gating and pharmacological properties of Nav channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes can be modulated by an intron retention process in the transcription of the neuronal TEH1-like ancillary subunits of P. americana.
PMCID: PMC3744522  PMID: 23967047
19.  Correlation of the electrophysiological profiles and sodium channel transcripts of individual rat dorsal root ganglia neurons 
Voltage gated sodium channels (Nav channels) play an important role in nociceptive transmission. They are intimately tied to the genesis and transmission of neuronal firing. Five different isoforms (Nav1.3, Nav1.6, Nav1.7, Nav1.8, and Nav1.9) have been linked to nociceptive responses. A change in the biophysical properties of these channels or in their expression levels occurs in different pathological pain states. However, the precise involvement of the isoforms in the genesis and transmission of nociceptive responses is unknown. The aim of the present study was to investigate the synergy between the different populations of Nav channels that give individual neurons a unique electrophysical profile. We used the patch-clamp technique in the whole-cell configuration to record Nav currents and action potentials from acutely dissociated small diameter DRG neurons (<30 μm) from adult rats. We also performed single cell qPCR on the same neurons. Our results revealed that there is a strong correlation between Nav currents and mRNA transcripts in individual neurons. A cluster analysis showed that subgroups formed by Nav channel transcripts by mRNA quantification have different biophysical properties. In addition, the firing frequency of the neurons was not affected by the relative populations of Nav channel. The synergy between populations of Nav channel in individual small diameter DRG neurons gives each neuron a unique electrophysiological profile. The Nav channel remodeling that occurs in different pathological pain states may be responsible for the sensitization of the neurons.
PMCID: PMC4168718  PMID: 25285069
voltage-gated sodium channel; neuronal excitability; pain; biophysical properties; dorsal root ganglia neurons
20.  A gating charge interaction required for late slow inactivation of the bacterial sodium channel NavAb 
The Journal of General Physiology  2013;142(3):181-190.
Voltage-gated sodium channels undergo slow inactivation during repetitive depolarizations, which controls the frequency and duration of bursts of action potentials and prevents excitotoxic cell death. Although homotetrameric bacterial sodium channels lack the intracellular linker-connecting homologous domains III and IV that causes fast inactivation of eukaryotic sodium channels, they retain the molecular mechanism for slow inactivation. Here, we examine the functional properties and slow inactivation of the bacterial sodium channel NavAb expressed in insect cells under conditions used for structural studies. NavAb activates at very negative membrane potentials (V1/2 of approximately −98 mV), and it has both an early phase of slow inactivation that arises during single depolarizations and reverses rapidly, and a late use-dependent phase of slow inactivation that reverses very slowly. Mutation of Asn49 to Lys in the S2 segment in the extracellular negative cluster of the voltage sensor shifts the activation curve ∼75 mV to more positive potentials and abolishes the late phase of slow inactivation. The gating charge R3 interacts with Asn49 in the crystal structure of NavAb, and mutation of this residue to Cys causes a similar positive shift in the voltage dependence of activation and block of the late phase of slow inactivation as mutation N49K. Prolonged depolarizations that induce slow inactivation also cause hysteresis of gating charge movement, which results in a requirement for very negative membrane potentials to return gating charges to their resting state. Unexpectedly, the mutation N49K does not alter hysteresis of gating charge movement, even though it prevents the late phase of slow inactivation. Our results reveal an important molecular interaction between R3 in S4 and Asn49 in S2 that is crucial for voltage-dependent activation and for late slow inactivation of NavAb, and they introduce a NavAb mutant that enables detailed functional studies in parallel with structural analysis.
PMCID: PMC3753604  PMID: 23980192
21.  Mechanisms of a Human Skeletal Myotonia Produced by Mutation in the C-Terminus of NaV1.4: Is Ca2+ Regulation Defective? 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(12):e81063.
Mutations in the cytoplasmic tail (CT) of voltage gated sodium channels cause a spectrum of inherited diseases of cellular excitability, yet to date only one mutation in the CT of the human skeletal muscle voltage gated sodium channel (hNaV1.4F1705I) has been linked to cold aggravated myotonia. The functional effects of altered regulation of hNaV1.4F1705I are incompletely understood. The location of the hNaV1.4F1705I in the CT prompted us to examine the role of Ca2+ and calmodulin (CaM) regulation in the manifestations of myotonia. To study Na channel related mechanisms of myotonia we exploited the differences in rat and human NaV1.4 channel regulation by Ca2+ and CaM. hNaV1.4F1705I inactivation gating is Ca2+-sensitive compared to wild type hNaV1.4 which is Ca2+ insensitive and the mutant channel exhibits a depolarizing shift of the V1/2 of inactivation with CaM over expression. In contrast the same mutation in the rNaV1.4 channel background (rNaV1.4F1698I) eliminates Ca2+ sensitivity of gating without affecting the CaM over expression induced hyperpolarizing shift in steady-state inactivation. The differences in the Ca2+ sensitivity of gating between wild type and mutant human and rat NaV1.4 channels are in part mediated by a divergence in the amino acid sequence in the EF hand like (EFL) region of the CT. Thus the composition of the EFL region contributes to the species differences in Ca2+/CaM regulation of the mutant channels that produce myotonia. The myotonia mutation F1705I slows INa decay in a Ca2+-sensitive fashion. The combination of the altered voltage dependence and kinetics of INa decay contribute to the myotonic phenotype and may involve the Ca2+-sensing apparatus in the CT of NaV1.4.
PMCID: PMC3855693  PMID: 24324661
22.  Phyla- and Subtype-Selectivity of CgNa, a Na+ Channel Toxin from the Venom of the Giant Caribbean Sea Anemone Condylactis Gigantea 
Because of their prominent role in electro-excitability, voltage-gated sodium (NaV) channels have become the foremost important target of animal toxins. These toxins have developed the ability to discriminate between closely related NaV subtypes, making them powerful tools to study NaV channel function and structure. CgNa is a 47-amino acid residue type I toxin isolated from the venom of the Giant Caribbean Sea Anemone Condylactis gigantea. Previous studies showed that this toxin slows the fast inactivation of tetrodotoxin-sensitive NaV currents in rat dorsal root ganglion neurons. To illuminate the underlying NaV subtype-selectivity pattern, we have assayed the effects of CgNa on a broad range of mammalian isoforms (NaV1.2–NaV1.8) expressed in Xenopus oocytes. This study demonstrates that CgNa selectively slows the fast inactivation of rNaV1.3/β1, mNaV1.6/β1 and, to a lesser extent, hNaV1.5/β1, while the other mammalian isoforms remain unaffected. Importantly, CgNa was also examined on the insect sodium channel DmNaV1/tipE, revealing a clear phyla-selectivity in the efficacious actions of the toxin. CgNa strongly inhibits the inactivation of the insect NaV channel, resulting in a dramatic increase in peak current amplitude and complete removal of fast and steady-state inactivation. Together with the previously determined solution structure, the subtype-selective effects revealed in this study make of CgNa an interesting pharmacological probe to investigate the functional role of specific NaV channel subtypes. Moreover, further structural studies could provide important information on the molecular mechanism of NaV channel inactivation.
PMCID: PMC3153007  PMID: 21833172
sea anemone; toxin; inactivation; sodium channel; subtype; selectivity
23.  Characterization of a Novel BmαTX47 Toxin Modulating Sodium Channels: The Crucial Role of Expression Vectors in Toxin Pharmacological Activity 
Toxins  2014;6(3):816-829.
Long-chain scorpion toxins with four disulfide bridges exhibit various pharmacological features towards the different voltage-gated sodium channel subtypes. However, the toxin production still remains a huge challenge. Here, we reported the effects of different expression vectors on the pharmacological properties of a novel toxin BmαTX47 from the scorpion Buthus martensii Karsch. The recombinant BmαTX47 was obtained using the expression vector pET-14b and pET-28a, respectively. Pharmacological experiments showed that the recombinant BmαTX47 was a new α-scorpion toxin which could inhibit the fast inactivation of rNav1.2, mNav1.4 and hNav1.5 channels. Importantly, the different expression vectors were found to strongly affect BmαTX47 pharmacological activities while toxins were obtained by the same expression and purification procedures. When 10 µM recombinant BmαTX47 from the pET-28a vector was applied, the values of I5ms/Ipeak for rNav1.2, mNav1.4 and hNav1.5 channels were 44.12% ± 3.17%, 25.40% ± 4.89% and 65.34% ± 3.86%, respectively, which were better than those values of 11.33% ± 1.46%, 15.96% ± 1.87% and 5.24% ± 2.38% for rNav1.2, mNav1.4 and hNav1.5 channels delayed by 10 µM recombinant BmαTX47 from the pET-14b vector. The dose-response experiments further indicated the EC50 values of recombinant BmαTX47 from the pET-28a vector were 7262.9 ± 755.9 nM for rNav1.2 channel and 1005.8 ± 118.6 nM for hNav1.5 channel, respectively. Together, these findings highlighted the important role of expression vectors in scorpion toxin pharmacological properties, which would accelerate the understanding of the structure-function relationships of scorpion toxins and promote the potential application of toxins in the near future.
PMCID: PMC3968363  PMID: 24577584
Buthus martensii Karsch; BmαTX47; recombinant expression; sodium channels; pET-28a vector; pET-14b vector
24.  SCN1A Splice Variants Exhibit Divergent Sensitivity to Commonly Used Antiepileptic Drugs 
Epilepsia  2011;52(5):1000-1009.
A common genetic variant (rs3812718) in a splice donor consensus sequence within the neuronal sodium channel gene SCN1A (encoding NaV1.1) modulates the proportion of transcripts incorporating either the canonical (5A) or alternative (5N) exon 5. A pharmacogenetic association has been reported whereby increased expression of exon 5N containing NaV1.1 transcripts correlated with lower required doses of phenytoin in epileptics. We tested the hypothesis that SCN1A alternative splicing affects the pharmacology of NaV1.1 channels.
To directly examine biophysical and pharmacological differences between the exon 5 splice variants, we performed whole-cell patch clamp recording of tsA201 cells transiently co-expressing either NaV1.1-5A or NaV1.1-5N with the β1 and β2 accessory subunits. We examined tonic inhibition and use-dependent inhibition of NaV1.1 splice isoforms by phenytoin, carbamazepine, and lamotrigine. We also examined the effects of phenytoin and lamotrigine on channel biophysical properties and determined concentration-response relationships for both splice variants.
Key Findings
We observed no significant differences in voltage-dependence of activation, steady-state inactivation, and recovery from inactivation between splice variants. However, NaV1.1-5N channels exhibited enhanced tonic block by phenytoin and lamotrigine compared to NaV1.1-5A. Additionally, NaV1.1-5N exhibited enhanced use-dependent block by phenytoin and lamotrigine across a range of stimulation frequencies and concentrations. Phenytoin and lamotrigine induced shifts in steady-state inactivation and recovery from fast inactivation for both splice isoforms. No splice isoform differences were observed for channel inhibition by carbamazepine.
These results suggest NaV1.1 channels containing exon 5N are more sensitive to the commonly used antiepileptic drugs phenytoin and lamotrigine.
PMCID: PMC3093448  PMID: 21453355
antiepileptic drugs; ion channel gene defects; alternative splicing
25.  Single-cell analysis of sodium channel expression in dorsal root ganglion neurons 
Sensory neurons of the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) express multiple voltage-gated sodium (Na) channels that substantially differ in gating kinetics and pharmacology. Small-diameter (<25 µm) neurons isolated from the rat DRG express a combination of fast tetrodotoxin-sensitive (TTX-S) and slow TTX-resistant (TTX-R) Na currents while large-diameter neurons (>30 µm) predominately express fast TTX-S Na current. Na channel expression was further investigated using single-cell RT-PCR to measure the transcripts present in individually harvested DRG neurons. Consistent with cellular electrophysiology, the small neurons expressed transcripts encoding for both TTX-S (Nav1.1, Nav1.2, Nav1.6, Nav1.7) and TTX-R (Nav1.8, Nav1.9) Na channels. Nav1.7, Nav1.8 and Nav1.9 were the predominant Na channels expressed in the small neurons. The large neurons highly expressed TTX-S isoforms (Nav1.1, Nav1.6, Nav1.7) while TTX-R channels were present at comparatively low levels. A unique subpopulation of the large neurons was identified that expressed TTX-R Na current and high levels of Nav1.8 transcript. DRG neurons also displayed substantial differences in the expression of neurofilaments (NF200, peripherin) and Necl-1, a neuronal adhesion molecule involved in myelination. The preferential expression of NF200 and Necl-1 suggests that large-diameter neurons give rise to thick myelinated axons. Small-diameter neurons expressed peripherin, but reduced levels of NF200 and Necl-1, a pattern more consistent with thin unmyelinated axons. Single-cell analysis of Na channel transcripts indicates that TTX-S and TTX-R Na channels are differentially expressed in large myelinated (Nav1.1, Nav1.6, Nav1.7) and small unmyelinated (Nav1.7, Nav1.8, Nav1.9) sensory neurons.
PMCID: PMC3005531  PMID: 20816971
Sodium channel; dorsal root ganglia; single-cell RT-PCR; Necl-1; NF200; peripherin

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