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J Biol Chem 1999 Nov 12;27446:32647-54.
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Functional roles of the extracellular segments of the sodium channel alpha subunit in voltage-dependent gating and modulation by beta1 subunits.

Qu Y , Rogers JC , Chen SF , McCormick KA , Scheuer T , Catterall WA .

Voltage-gated sodium channels consist of a pore-forming alpha subunit associated with beta1 subunits and, for brain sodium channels, beta2 subunits. Although much is known about the structure and function of the alpha subunit, there is little information on the functional role of the 16 extracellular loops. To search for potential functional activities of these extracellular segments, chimeras were studied in which an individual extracellular loop of the rat heart (rH1) alpha subunit was substituted for the corresponding segment of the rat brain type IIA (rIIA) alpha subunit. In comparison with rH1, wild-type rIIA alpha subunits are characterized by more positive voltage-dependent activation and inactivation, a more prominent slow gating mode, and a more substantial shift to the fast gating mode upon coexpression of beta1 subunits in Xenopus oocytes. When alpha subunits were expressed alone, chimeras with substitutions from rH1 in five extracellular loops (IIS5-SS1, IISS2-S6, IIIS1-S2, IIISS2-S6, and IVS3-S4) had negatively shifted activation, and chimeras with substitutions in three of these (IISS2-S6, IIIS1-S2, and IVS3-S4) also had negatively shifted steady-state inactivation. rIIA alpha subunit chimeras with substitutions from rH1 in five extracellular loops (IS5-SS1, ISS2-S6, IISS2-S6, IIIS1-S2, and IVS3-S4) favored the fast gating mode. Like wild-type rIIA alpha subunits, all of the chimeric rIIA alpha subunits except chimera IVSS2-S6 were shifted almost entirely to the fast gating mode when coexpressed with beta1 subunits. In contrast, substitution of extracellular loop IVSS2-S6 substantially reduced the effectiveness of beta1 subunits in shifting rIIA alpha subunits to the fast gating mode. Our results show that multiple extracellular loops influence voltage-dependent activation and inactivation and gating mode of sodium channels, whereas segment IVSS2-S6 plays a dominant role in modulation of gating by beta1 subunits. Evidently, several extracellular loops are important determinants of sodium channel gating and modulation.

PubMed ID: 10551819
Article link: J Biol Chem
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: rho