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J Biol Chem 2007 Oct 05;28240:29424-30. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M704651200.
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Design of a specific activator for skeletal muscle sodium channels uncovers channel architecture.

Cohen L , Ilan N , Gur M , Stühmer W , Gordon D , Gurevitz M .

Gating modifiers of voltage-gated sodium channels (Na(v)s) are important tools in neuroscience research and may have therapeutic potential in medicinal disorders. Analysis of the bioactive surface of the scorpion beta-toxin Css4 (from Centruroides suffusus suffusus) toward rat brain (rNa(v)1.2a) and skeletal muscle (rNa(v)1.4) channels using binding studies revealed commonality but also substantial differences, which were used to design a specific activator, Css4(F14A/E15A/E28R), of rNa(v)1.4 expressed in Xenopus oocytes. The therapeutic potential of Css4(F14A/E15A/E28R) was tested using an rNa(v)1.4 mutant carrying the same mutation present in the genetic disorder hypokalemic periodic paralysis. The activator restored the impaired gating properties of the mutant channel expressed in oocytes, thus offering a tentative new means for treatment of neuromuscular disorders with reduced muscle excitability. Mutant double cycle analysis employing toxin residues involved in the construction of Css4(F14A/E15A/E28R) and residues whose equivalents in the rat brain channel rNa(v)1.2a were shown to affect Css4 binding revealed significant coupling energy (>1.3 kcal/mol) between F14A and E592A at Domain-2/voltage sensor segments 1-2 (D2/S1-S2), R27Q and E1251N at D3/SS2-S6, and E28R with both E650A at D2/S3-S4 and E1251N at D3/SS2-S6. These results show that despite the differences in interactions with the rat brain and skeletal muscle Na(v)s, Css4 recognizes a similar region on both channel subtypes. Moreover, our data indicate that the S3-S4 loop of the voltage sensor module in Domain-2 is in very close proximity to the SS2-S6 segment of the pore module of Domain-3 in rNa(v)1.4. This is the first experimental evidence that the inter-domain spatial organization of mammalian Na(v)s resembles that of voltage-gated potassium channels.

PubMed ID: 17686768
Article link: J Biol Chem
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: btnl2 dio3