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XB-ART-36007
Cell 2007 Apr 20;1292:371-83. doi: 10.1196/annals.1387.044.
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The neuronal channel NALCN contributes resting sodium permeability and is required for normal respiratory rhythm.

Lu B , Su Y , Das S , Liu J , Xia J , Ren D .


Abstract
Sodium plays a key role in determining the basal excitability of the nervous systems through the resting "leak" Na(+) permeabilities, but the molecular identities of the TTX- and Cs(+)-resistant Na(+) leak conductance are totally unknown. Here we show that this conductance is formed by the protein NALCN, a substantially uncharacterized member of the sodium/calcium channel family. Unlike any of the other 20 family members, NALCN forms a voltage-independent, nonselective cation channel. NALCN mutant mice have a severely disrupted respiratory rhythm and die within 24 hours of birth. Brain stem-spinal cord recordings reveal reduced neuronal firing. The TTX- and Cs(+)-resistant background Na(+) leak current is absent in the mutant hippocampal neurons. The resting membrane potentials of the mutant neurons are relatively insensitive to changes in extracellular Na(+) concentration. Thus, NALCN, a nonselective cation channel, forms the background Na(+) leak conductance and controls neuronal excitability.

PubMed ID: 17448995
Article link: Cell


Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: nalcn