Regulation of Nav1.6 and Nav1.8 peripheral nerve Na+ channels by auxiliary β-subunits.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


J Neurophysiol, Volume 106, Issue 2, p.608-19 (2011)


Animals, Animals, Newborn, Ganglia, Spinal, Gene Expression Regulation, HEK293 Cells, Humans, Ion Channel Gating, NAV1.6 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel, NAV1.8 Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel, Nerve Tissue Proteins, Neurons, Afferent, Peripheral Nerves, Protein Subunits, Rats, Sodium Channels


<p>Voltage-gated Na(+) (Na(v)) channels are composed of a pore-forming α-subunit and one or more auxiliary β-subunits. The present study investigated the regulation by the β-subunit of two Na(+) channels (Na(v)1.6 and Na(v)1.8) expressed in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons. Single cell RT-PCR was used to show that Na(v)1.8, Na(v)1.6, and β(1)-β(3) subunits were widely expressed in individually harvested small-diameter DRG neurons. Coexpression experiments were used to assess the regulation of Na(v)1.6 and Na(v)1.8 by β-subunits. The β(1)-subunit induced a 2.3-fold increase in Na(+) current density and hyperpolarizing shifts in the activation (-4 mV) and steady-state inactivation (-4.7 mV) of heterologously expressed Na(v)1.8 channels. The β(4)-subunit caused more pronounced shifts in activation (-16.7 mV) and inactivation (-9.3 mV) but did not alter the current density of cells expressing Na(v)1.8 channels. The β(3)-subunit did not alter Na(v)1.8 gating but significantly reduced the current density by 31%. This contrasted with Na(v)1.6, where the β-subunits were relatively weak regulators of channel function. One notable exception was the β(4)-subunit, which induced a hyperpolarizing shift in activation (-7.6 mV) but no change in the inactivation or current density of Na(v)1.6. The β-subunits differentially regulated the expression and gating of Na(v)1.8 and Na(v)1.6. To further investigate the underlying regulatory mechanism, β-subunit chimeras containing portions of the strongly regulating β(1)-subunit and the weakly regulating β(2)-subunit were generated. Chimeras retaining the COOH-terminal domain of the β(1)-subunit produced hyperpolarizing shifts in gating and increased the current density of Na(v)1.8, similar to that observed for wild-type β(1)-subunits. The intracellular COOH-terminal domain of the β(1)-subunit appeared to play an essential role in the regulation of Na(v)1.8 expression and gating.</p>

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