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1.  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
2.  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
3.  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
4.  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
5.  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
6.  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
7.  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
8.  Pharmacological fractionation of tetrodotoxin-sensitive sodium currents in rat dorsal root ganglion neurons by μ-conotoxins 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2013;169(1):102-114.
Background and Purpose
Adult rat dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons normally express transcripts for five isoforms of the α-subunit of voltage-gated sodium channels: NaV1.1, 1.6, 1.7, 1.8 and 1.9. Tetrodotoxin (TTX) readily blocks all but NaV1.8 and 1.9, and pharmacological agents that discriminate among the TTX-sensitive NaV1-isoforms are scarce. Recently, we used the activity profile of a panel of μ-conotoxins in blocking cloned rodent NaV1-isoforms expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes to conclude that action potentials of A- and C-fibres in rat sciatic nerve were, respectively, mediated primarily by NaV1.6 and NaV1.7.
Experimental Approach
We used three μ-conotoxins, μ-TIIIA, μ-PIIIA and μ-SmIIIA, applied individually and in combinations, to pharmacologically differentiate the TTX-sensitive INa of voltage-clamped neurons acutely dissociated from adult rat DRG. We examined only small and large neurons whose respective INa were >50% and >80% TTX-sensitive.
Key Results
In both small and large neurons, the ability of the toxins to block TTX-sensitive INa was μ-TIIIA < μ-PIIIA < μ-SmIIIA, with the latter blocking ≳90%. Comparison of the toxin-susceptibility profiles of the neuronal INa with recently acquired profiles of rat NaV1-isoforms, co-expressed with various NaVβ-subunits in X. laevis oocytes, were consistent: NaV1.1, 1.6 and 1.7 could account for all of the TTX-sensitive INa, with NaV1.1 < NaV1.6 < NaV1.7 for small neurons and NaV1.7 < NaV1.1 < NaV1.6 for large neurons.
Conclusions and Implications
Combinations of μ-conotoxins can be used to determine the probable NaV1-isoforms underlying the INa in DRG neurons. Preliminary experiments with sympathetic neurons suggest that this approach is extendable to other neurons.
PMCID: PMC3632242  PMID: 23351163
μ-conotoxin PIIIA; μ-conotoxin SmIIIA; μ-conotoxin TIIIA; dorsal root ganglion; superior cervical ganglion; tetrodotoxin; voltage-gated sodium channel; whole-cell patch clamp
9.  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
10.  Novel Isoforms of the Sodium Channels Nav1.8 and Nav1.5 Are Produced by a Conserved Mechanism in Mouse and Rat* 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2004;279(23):24826-24833.
The voltage-gated sodium channel Nav1.8 is only expressed in subsets of neurons in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and trigeminal and nodose ganglia. We have isolated mouse partial length Nav1.8 cDNA clones spanning the exon 17 sequence, which have 17 nucleotide substitutions and 12 predicted amino acid differences from the published sequence. The absence of a mutually exclusive alternative exon 17 was confirmed by sequencing 4.1 kilobases of genomic DNA spanning exons 16–18 of Scn10a. A novel cDNA isoform was identified, designated Nav1.8c, which results from alternative 3′-splice site selection at a CAG/CAG motif to exclude the codon for glutamine 1031 within the interdomain cytoplasmic loop IDII/III. The ratio of Nav1.8c (CAG-skipped) to Nav1.8 (CAG-inclusive) mRNA in mouse is ~2:1 in adult DRG, trigeminal ganglion, and neonatal DRG. A Nav1.8c isoform also occurs in rat DRG, but is less common. Of the two other tetrodotoxin-resistant channels, no analogous alternative splicing of mouse Nav1.9 was detected, whereas rare alternative splicing of Nav1.5 at a CAG/CAG motif resulted in the introduction of a CAG trinucleotide. This isoform, designated Nav1.5c, is conserved in rat and encodes an additional glutamine residue that disrupts a putative CK2 phosphorylation site. In summary, novel isoforms of Nav1.8 and Nav1.5 are each generated by alternative splicing at CAG/CAG motifs, which result in the absence or presence of predicted glutamine residues within the interdomain cytoplasmic loop IDII/III. Mutations of sodium channels within this cytoplasmic loop have previously been demonstrated to alter electrophysiological properties and cause cardiac arrhythmias and epilepsy.
PMCID: PMC2726572  PMID: 15047701
11.  Distinct Roles of the DmNav and DSC1 Channels in the Action of DDT and Pyrethroids 
Neurotoxicology  2015;47:99-106.
Voltage-gated sodium channels (Nav channels) are critical for electrical signaling in the nervous system and are the primary targets of the insecticides DDT and pyrethroids. In Drosophila melanogaster, besides the canonical Nav channel, Para (also called DmNav), there is a sodium channel-like cation channel called DSC1 (Drosophila sodium channel 1). Temperature-sensitive paralytic mutations in DmNav (parats) confer resistance to DDT and pyrethroids, whereas DSC1 knockout flies exhibit enhanced sensitivity to pyrethroids. To further define the roles and interaction of DmNav and DSC1 channels in DDT and pyrethroid neurotoxicology, we generated a DmNav/DSC1 double mutant line by introducing a parats1 allele (carrying the I265N mutation) into a DSC1 knockout line. We confirmed that the I265N mutation reduced the sensitivity to two pyrethroids, permethrin and deltamethrin of a DmNav variant expressed in Xenopus oocytes. Computer modeling predicts that the I265N mutation confers pyrethroid resistance by allosterically altering the second pyrethroid receptor site on the DmNav channel. Furthermore, we found that I265N-mediated pyrethroid resistance in parats1 mutant flies was almost completely abolished in parats1;DSC1−/− double mutant flies. Unexpectedly, however, the DSC1 knockout flies were less sensitive to DDT, compared to the control flies (w1118A), and the parats1;DSC1−/− double mutant flies were even more resistant to DDT compared to the DSC1 knockout or parats1 mutant. Our findings revealed distinct roles of the DmNav and DSC1 channels in the neurotoxicology of DDT vs. pyrethroids and implicate the exciting possibility of using DSC1 channel blockers or modifiers in the management of pyrethroid resistance.
PMCID: PMC4486006  PMID: 25687544
DSC1; voltage-gated sodium channel; DDT; pyrethroids insecticide resistance
12.  Biophysical properties of Nav1.8/Nav1.2 chimeras and inhibition by µO-conotoxin MrVIB 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2012;166(7):2148-2160.
Voltage-gated sodium channels are expressed primarily in excitable cells and play a pivotal role in the initiation and propagation of action potentials. Nine subtypes of the pore-forming α-subunit have been identified, each with a distinct tissue distribution, biophysical properties and sensitivity to tetrodotoxin (TTX). Nav1.8, a TTX-resistant (TTX-R) subtype, is selectively expressed in sensory neurons and plays a pathophysiological role in neuropathic pain. In comparison with TTX-sensitive (TTX-S) Navα-subtypes in neurons, Nav1.8 is most strongly inhibited by the µO-conotoxin MrVIB from Conus marmoreus. To determine which domain confers Nav1.8 α-subunit its biophysical properties and MrVIB binding, we constructed various chimeric channels incorporating sequence from Nav1.8 and the TTX-S Nav1.2 using a domain exchange strategy.
Wild-type and chimeric Nav channels were expressed in Xenopus oocytes, and depolarization-activated Na+ currents were recorded using the two-electrode voltage clamp technique.
MrVIB (1 µM) reduced Nav1.2 current amplitude to 69 ± 12%, whereas Nav1.8 current was reduced to 31 ± 3%, confirming that MrVIB has a binding preference for Nav1.8. A similar reduction in Na+ current amplitude was observed when MrVIB was applied to chimeras containing the region extending from S6 segment of domain I through the S5-S6 linker of domain II of Nav1.8. In contrast, MrVIB had only a small effect on Na+ current for chimeras containing the corresponding region of Nav1.2.
Taken together, these results suggest that domain II of Nav1.8 is an important determinant of MrVIB affinity, highlighting a region of the α-subunit that may allow further nociceptor-specific ligand targeting.
PMCID: PMC3402778  PMID: 22452751
electrophysiology; heterologous expression; Xenopus oocytes; chimera; µO-conotoxin MrVIB; tetrodotoxin; voltage-gated sodium channels; Nav1.2; Nav1.8
13.  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
14.  Differential modulation of Nav1.7 and Nav1.8 peripheral nerve sodium channels by the local anesthetic lidocaine 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2004;142(3):576-584.
Voltage-gated Na+ channels are transmembrane proteins that are essential for the propagation of action potentials in excitable cells. Nav1.7 and Nav1.8 dorsal root ganglion Na+ channels exhibit different kinetics and sensitivities to tetrodotoxin (TTX). We investigated the properties of both channels in the presence of lidocaine, a local anesthetic (LA) and class I anti-arrhythmic drug.Nav1.7 and Nav1.8 Na+ channels were coexpressed with the β1-subunit in Xenopus oocytes. Na+ currents were recorded using the two-microelectrode voltage-clamp technique.Dose–response curves for both channels had different EC50 (dose producing 50% maximum current inhibition) (450 μM for Nav1.7 and 104 μM for Nav1.8). Lidocaine enhanced current decrease in a frequency-dependent manner. Steady-state inactivation of both channels was also affected by lidocaine, Nav1.7 being the most sensitive. Only the steady-state activation of Nav1.8 was affected while the entry of both channels into slow inactivation was affected by lidocaine, Nav1.8 being affected to a larger degree.Although the channels share homology at DIV S6, the LA binding site, they differ in their sensitivity to lidocaine. Recent studies suggest that other residues on DI and DII known to influence lidocaine binding may explain the differences in affinities between Nav1.7 and Nav1.8 Na+ channels.Understanding the properties of these channels and their pharmacology is of critical importance to developing drugs and finding effective therapies to treat chronic pain.
PMCID: PMC1574965  PMID: 15148257
Nav1.7; Nav1.8; sodium channels; lidocaine; local anesthetics; pain; peripheral nerve; dorsal root ganglion; Xenopus oocytes
15.  Inhibition of voltage-gated Na+ currents in sensory neurones by the sea anemone toxin APETx2 
British Journal of Pharmacology  2012;165(7):2167-2177.
APETx2, a toxin from the sea anemone Anthropleura elegantissima, inhibits acid-sensing ion channel 3 (ASIC3)-containing homo- and heterotrimeric channels with IC50 values < 100 nM and 0.1–2 µM respectively. ASIC3 channels mediate acute acid-induced and inflammatory pain response and APETx2 has been used as a selective pharmacological tool in animal studies. Toxins from sea anemones also modulate voltage-gated Na+ channel (Nav) function. Here we tested the effects of APETx2 on Nav function in sensory neurones.
Effects of APETx2 on Nav function were studied in rat dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurones by whole-cell patch clamp.
APETx2 inhibited the tetrodotoxin (TTX)-resistant Nav 1.8 currents of DRG neurones (IC50, 2.6 µM). TTX-sensitive currents were less inhibited. The inhibition of Nav 1.8 currents was due to a rightward shift in the voltage dependence of activation and a reduction of the maximal macroscopic conductance. The inhibition of Nav 1.8 currents by APETx2 was confirmed with cloned channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes. In current-clamp experiments in DRG neurones, the number of action potentials induced by injection of a current ramp was reduced by APETx2.
APETx2 inhibited Nav 1.8 channels, in addition to ASIC3 channels, at concentrations used in in vivo studies. The limited specificity of this toxin should be taken into account when using APETx2 as a pharmacological tool. Its dual action will be an advantage for the use of APETx2 or its derivatives as analgesic drugs.
PMCID: PMC3413854  PMID: 21943094
APETx2; ASIC; Nav 1.8; peptide toxin; DRG; inflammatory pain; acid-induced pain; sea anemone toxins
16.  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
Neuroscience  2008;155(3):797-808.
The expression of voltage-gated sodium channels is regulated at multiple levels, and in this study we addressed the potential for alternative splicing of the Nav1.2, Nav1.3, Nav1.6 and Nav1.7 mRNAs. We isolated novel mRNA isoforms of Nav1.2 and Nav1.3 from adult mouse and rat dorsal root ganglia (DRG), Nav1.3 and Nav1.7 from adult mouse brain, and Nav1.7 from neonatal rat brain. These alternatively spliced isoforms introduce an additional exon (Nav1.2 exon 17A and topologically equivalent Nav1.7 exon 16A) or exon pair (Nav1.3 exons 17A and 17B) that contain an in-frame stop codon and result in predicted two-domain, truncated proteins. The mouse and rat orthologous exon sequences are highly conserved (94-100% identities), as are the paralogous Nav1.2 and Nav1.3 exons (93% identity in mouse) to which the Nav1.7 exon has only 60% identity. Previously, Nav1.3 mRNA has been shown to be upregulated in rat DRG following peripheral nerve injury, unlike the downregulation of all other sodium channel transcripts. Here we show that the expression of Nav1.3 mRNA containing exons 17A and 17B is unchanged in mouse following peripheral nerve injury (axotomy), whereas total Nav1.3 mRNA expression is upregulated by 33% (P=0.003), suggesting differential regulation of the alternatively spliced transcripts. The alternatively spliced rodent exon sequences are highly conserved in both the human and chicken genomes, with 77-89% and 72-76% identities to mouse, respectively. The widespread conservation of these sequences strongly suggests an additional level of regulation in the expression of these channels, that is also tissue-specific.
PMCID: PMC2726981  PMID: 18675520
DRG; brain; alternative splicing; Scn2a; Scn3a; Scn9a
18.  New Insights in the Contribution of Voltage-Gated Nav Channels to Rat Aorta Contraction 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(10):e7360.
Despite increasing evidence for the presence of voltage-gated Na+ channels (Nav) isoforms and measurements of Nav channel currents with the patch-clamp technique in arterial myocytes, no information is available to date as to whether or not Nav channels play a functional role in arteries. The aim of the present work was to look for a physiological role of Nav channels in the control of rat aortic contraction.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Nav channels were detected in the aortic media by Western blot analysis and double immunofluorescence labeling for Nav channels and smooth muscle α-actin using specific antibodies. In parallel, using real time RT-PCR, we identified three Nav transcripts: Nav1.2, Nav1.3, and Nav1.5. Only the Nav1.2 isoform was found in the intact media and in freshly isolated myocytes excluding contamination by other cell types. Using the specific Nav channel agonist veratridine and antagonist tetrodotoxin (TTX), we unmasked a contribution of these channels in the response to the depolarizing agent KCl on rat aortic isometric tension recorded from endothelium-denuded aortic rings. Experimental conditions excluded a contribution of Nav channels from the perivascular sympathetic nerve terminals. Addition of low concentrations of KCl (2–10 mM), which induced moderate membrane depolarization (e.g., from −55.9±1.4 mV to −45.9±1.2 mV at 10 mmol/L as measured with microelectrodes), triggered a contraction potentiated by veratridine (100 µM) and blocked by TTX (1 µM). KB-R7943, an inhibitor of the reverse mode of the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger, mimicked the effect of TTX and had no additive effect in presence of TTX.
These results define a new role for Nav channels in arterial physiology, and suggest that the TTX-sensitive Nav1.2 isoform, together with the Na+/Ca2+ exchanger, contributes to the contractile response of aortic myocytes at physiological range of membrane depolarization.
PMCID: PMC2752992  PMID: 19809503
19.  Localization of Sodium Channel Subtypes in Mouse Ventricular Myocytes Using Quantitative Immunocytochemistry 
Journal of molecular and cellular cardiology  2013;64:10.1016/j.yjmcc.2013.08.004.
Voltage-gated sodium channels are responsible for the rising phase of the action potential in cardiac muscle. Previously, both TTX-sensitive neuronal sodium channels (NaV1.1, NaV1.2, NaV1.3, NaV1.4 and NaV1.6) and the TTX-resistant cardiac sodium channel (NaV1.5) have been detected in cardiac myocytes, but relative levels of protein expression of the isoforms were not determined. Using a quantitative approach, we analyzed z-series of confocal microscopy images from individual mouse myocytes stained with either anti-NaV1.1, anti-NaV1.2, anti-NaV1.3, anti-NaV1.4, anti-NaV1.5, or anti-NaV1.6 antibodies and calculated the relative intensity of staining for these sodium channel isoforms. Our results indicate that the TTX-sensitive channels represented approximately 23% of the total channels, whereas the TTX-resistant NaV1.5 channel represented 77% of the total channel staining in mouse ventricular myocytes. These ratios are consistent with previous electrophysiological studies in mouse ventricular myocytes. NaV1.5 was located at the cell surface, with high density at the intercalated disc, but was absent from the transverse (t)-tubular system, suggesting that these channels support surface conduction and inter-myocyte transmission. Low-level cell surface staining of NaV1.4 and NaV1.6 channels suggest a minor role in surface excitation and conduction. Conversely, NaV1.1 and NaV1.3 channels are localized to the t-tubules and are likely to support t-tubular transmission of the action potential to the myocyte interior. This quantitative immunocytochemical approach for assessing sodium channel density and localization provides a more precise view of the relative importance and possible roles of these individual sodium channel protein isoforms in mouse ventricular myocytes and may be applicable to other species and cardiac tissue types.
PMCID: PMC3851329  PMID: 23982034
20.  Early Painful Diabetic Neuropathy Is Associated with Differential Changes in Tetrodotoxin-sensitive and -resistant Sodium Channels in Dorsal Root Ganglion Neurons in the Rat* 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2004;279(28):29341-29350.
Diabetic neuropathy is a common form of peripheral neuropathy, yet the mechanisms responsible for pain in this disease are poorly understood. Alterations in the expression and function of voltage-gated tetrodotoxin-resistant (TTX-R) sodium channels have been implicated in animal models of neuropathic pain, including models of diabetic neuropathy. We investigated the expression and function of TTX-sensitive (TTX-S) and TTX-R sodium channels in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons and the responses to thermal hyperalgesia and mechanical allodynia in streptozotocin-treated rats between 4–8 weeks after onset of diabetes. Diabetic rats demonstrated a significant reduction in the threshold for escape from innocuous mechanical pressure (allodynia) and a reduction in the latency to withdrawal from a noxious thermal stimulus (hyperalgesia). Both TTX-S and TTX-R sodium currents increased significantly in small DRG neurons isolated from diabetic rats. The voltage-dependent activation and steady-state inactivation curves for these currents were shifted negatively. TTX-S currents induced by fast or slow voltage ramps increased markedly in neurons from diabetic rats. Immunoblots and immunofluorescence staining demonstrated significant increases in the expression of Nav1.3 (TTX-S) and Nav1.7 (TTX-S) and decreases in the expression of Nav1.6 (TTX-S) and Nav1.8 (TTX-R) in diabetic rats. The level of serine/threonine phosphorylation of Nav1.6 and Nav1.8 increased in response to diabetes. In addition, increased tyrosine phosphorylation of Nav1.6 and Nav1.7 was observed in DRGs from diabetic rats. These results suggest that both TTX-S and TTX-R sodium channels play important roles and that differential phosphorylation of sodium channels involving both serine/threonine and tyrosine sites contributes to painful diabetic neuropathy.
PMCID: PMC1828032  PMID: 15123645
21.  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
22.  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
23.  Regulation of the Spontaneous Augmentation of NaV1.9 in Mouse Dorsal Root Ganglion Neurons: Effect of PKA and PKC Pathways 
Marine Drugs  2010;8(3):728-740.
Sensory neurons in the dorsal root ganglion express two kinds of tetrodotoxin resistant (TTX-R) isoforms of voltage-gated sodium channels, NaV1.8 and NaV1.9. These isoforms play key roles in the pathophysiology of chronic pain. Of special interest is NaV1.9: our previous studies revealed a unique property of the NaV1.9 current, i.e., the NaV1.9 current shows a gradual and notable up-regulation of the peak amplitude during recording (“spontaneous augmentation of NaV1.9”). However, the mechanism underlying the spontaneous augmentation of NaV1.9 is still unclear. In this study, we examined the effects of protein kinases A and C (PKA and PKC), on the spontaneous augmentation of NaV1.9. The spontaneous augmentation of the NaV1.9 current was significantly suppressed by activation of PKA, whereas activation of PKA did not affect the voltage dependence of inactivation for the NaV1.9 current. On the contrary, the finding that activation of PKC can affect the voltage dependence of inactivation for NaV1.9 in the perforated patch recordings, where the augmentation does not occur, suggests that the effects of PMA are independent of the augmentation process. These results indicate that the spontaneous augmentation of NaV1.9 was regulated directly by PKA, and indirectly by PKC.
PMCID: PMC2857352  PMID: 20411123
Na+ channel; tetrodotoxin; dorsal root ganglion; patch clamp; PKA; PKC
24.  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
25.  The sodium channel Nav1.5a is the predominant isoform expressed in adult mouse dorsal root ganglia and exhibits distinct inactivation properties from the full-length Nav1.5 channel 
Nav1.5 is the principal voltage-gated sodium channel expressed in heart, and is also expressed at lower abundance in embryonic dorsal root ganglia (DRG) with little or no expression reported postnatally. We report here the expression of Nav1.5 mRNA isoforms in adult mouse and rat DRG. The major isoform of mouse DRG is Nav1.5a, which encodes a protein with an IDII/III cytoplasmic loop reduced by 53 amino acids. Western blot analysis of adult mouse DRG membrane proteins confirmed the expression of Nav1.5 protein. The Na+ current produced by the Nav1.5a isoform has a voltage-dependent inactivation significantly shifted to more negative potentials (by ~5 mV) compared to the full-length Nav1.5 when expressed in the DRG neuroblastoma cell line ND7/23. These results imply that the alternatively spliced exon 18 of Nav1.5 plays a role in channel inactivation and that Nav1.5a is likely to make a significant contribution to adult DRG neuronal function.
PMCID: PMC2726334  PMID: 17433712

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