Local anesthetic and antiepileptic drug access and binding to a bacterial voltage-gated sodium channel.
ABSTRACT: Voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channels are important targets in the treatment of a range of pathologies. Bacterial channels, for which crystal structures have been solved, exhibit modulation by local anesthetic and anti-epileptic agents, allowing molecular-level investigations into sodium channel-drug interactions. These structures reveal no basis for the "hinged lid"-based fast inactivation, seen in eukaryotic Nav channels. Thus, they enable examination of potential mechanisms of use- or state-dependent drug action based on activation gating, or slower pore-based inactivation processes. Multimicrosecond simulations of NavAb reveal high-affinity binding of benzocaine to F203 that is a surrogate for FS6, conserved in helix S6 of Domain IV of mammalian sodium channels, as well as low-affinity sites suggested to stabilize different states of the channel. Phenytoin exhibits a different binding distribution owing to preferential interactions at the membrane and water-protein interfaces. Two drug-access pathways into the pore are observed: via lateral fenestrations connecting to the membrane lipid phase, as well as via an aqueous pathway through the intracellular activation gate, despite being closed. These observations provide insight into drug modulation that will guide further developments of Nav inhibitors.
Project description:Potency of drug action is usually determined by binding to a specific receptor site on target proteins. In contrast to this conventional paradigm, we show here that potency of local anesthetics (LAs) and antiarrhythmic drugs (AADs) that block sodium channels is controlled by fenestrations that allow drug access to the receptor site directly from the membrane phase. Voltage-gated sodium channels initiate action potentials in nerve and cardiac muscle, where their hyperactivity causes pain and cardiac arrhythmia, respectively. LAs and AADs selectively block sodium channels in rapidly firing nerve and muscle cells to relieve these conditions. The structure of the ancestral bacterial sodium channel NaVAb, which is also blocked by LAs and AADs, revealed fenestrations connecting the lipid phase of the membrane to the central cavity of the pore. We cocrystallized lidocaine and flecainide with NavAb, which revealed strong drug-dependent electron density in the central cavity of the pore. Mutation of the contact residue T206 greatly reduced drug potency, confirming this site as the receptor for LAs and AADs. Strikingly, mutations of the fenestration cap residue F203 changed fenestration size and had graded effects on resting-state block by flecainide, lidocaine, and benzocaine, the potencies of which were altered from 51- to 2.6-fold in order of their molecular size. These results show that conserved fenestrations in the pores of sodium channels are crucial pharmacologically and determine the level of resting-state block by widely used drugs. Fine-tuning drug access through fenestrations provides an unexpected avenue for structure-based design of ion-channel-blocking drugs.
Project description:Voltage gated sodium channels are the target of a range of local anesthetic, anti-epileptic and anti-arrhythmic compounds. But, gaining a molecular level understanding of their mode of action is difficult as we only have atomic resolution structures of bacterial sodium channels not their eukaryotic counterparts. In this study we used molecular dynamics simulations to demonstrate that the binding sites of both the local anesthetic benzocaine and the anti-epileptic phenytoin to the bacterial sodium channel NavAb can be altered significantly by the introduction of point mutations. Free energy techniques were applied to show that increased aromaticity in the pore of the channel, used to emulate the aromatic residues observed in eukaryotic Nav1.2, led to changes in the location of binding and dissociation constants of each drug relative to wild type NavAb. Further, binding locations and dissociation constants obtained for both benzocaine (660 ?M) and phenytoin (1 ?M) in the mutant channels were within the range expected from experimental values obtained from drug binding to eukaryotic sodium channels, indicating that these mutant NavAb may be a better model for drug binding to eukaryotic channels than the wild type.
Project description:Voltage-gated Na(+) channels play an essential role in electrical signaling in the nervous system and are key pharmacological targets for a range of disorders. The recent solution of X-ray structures for the bacterial channel NavAb has provided an opportunity to study functional mechanisms at the atomic level. This channel's selectivity filter exhibits an EEEE ring sequence, characteristic of mammalian Ca(2+), not Na(+), channels. This raises the fundamentally important question: just what makes a Na(+) channel conduct Na(+) ions? Here we explore ion permeation on multimicrosecond timescales using the purpose-built Anton supercomputer. We isolate the likely protonation states of the EEEE ring and observe a striking flexibility of the filter that demonstrates the necessity for extended simulations to study conduction in this channel. We construct free energy maps to reveal complex multi-ion conduction via knock-on and "pass-by" mechanisms, involving concerted ion and glutamate side chain movements. Simulations in mixed ionic solutions reveal relative energetics for Na(+), K(+), and Ca(2+) within the pore that are consistent with the modest selectivity seen experimentally. We have observed conformational changes in the pore domain leading to asymmetrical collapses of the activation gate, similar to proposed inactivated structures of NavAb, with helix bending involving conserved residues that are critical for slow inactivation. These structural changes are shown to regulate access to fenestrations suggested to be pathways for lipophilic drugs and provide deeper insight into the molecular mechanisms connecting drug activity and slow inactivation.
Project description:Striking structural differences between voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channels from prokaryotes (homotetramers) and eukaryotes (asymmetric, four-domain proteins) suggest the likelihood of different molecular mechanisms for common functions. For these two channel families, our data show similar selectivity sequences among alkali cations (relative permeability, Pion/PNa) and asymmetric, bi-ionic reversal potentials when the Na/K gradient is reversed. We performed coordinated experimental and computational studies, respectively, on the prokaryotic Nav channels NaChBac and NavAb. NaChBac shows an "anomalous," nonmonotonic mole-fraction dependence in the presence of certain sodium-potassium mixtures; to our knowledge, no comparable observation has been reported for eukaryotic Nav channels. NaChBac's preferential selectivity for sodium is reduced either by partial titration of its highly charged selectivity filter, when extracellular pH is lowered from 7.4 to 5.8, or by perturbation-likely steric-associated with a nominally electro-neutral substitution in the selectivity filter (E191D). Although no single molecular feature or energetic parameter appears to dominate, our atomistic simulations, based on the published NavAb crystal structure, revealed factors that may contribute to the normally observed selectivity for Na over K. These include: (a) a thermodynamic penalty to exchange one K(+) for one Na(+) in the wild-type (WT) channel, increasing the relative likelihood of Na(+) occupying the binding site; (b) a small tendency toward weaker ion binding to the selectivity filter in Na-K mixtures, consistent with the higher conductance observed with both sodium and potassium present; and (c) integrated 1-D potentials of mean force for sodium or potassium movement that show less separation for the less selective E/D mutant than for WT. Overall, tight binding of a single favored ion to the selectivity filter, together with crucial inter-ion interactions within the pore, suggests that prokaryotic Nav channels use a selective strategy more akin to those of eukaryotic calcium and potassium channels than that of eukaryotic Nav channels.
Project description:Homotetrameric bacterial voltage-gated sodium channels share major biophysical features with their more complex eukaryotic counterparts, including a slow-inactivation mechanism that reduces ion-conductance activity during prolonged depolarization through conformational changes in the pore. The bacterial sodium channel NaVAb activates at very negative membrane potentials and inactivates through a multiphase slow-inactivation mechanism. Early voltage-dependent inactivation during one depolarization is followed by late use-dependent inactivation during repetitive depolarization. Mutations that change the molecular volume of Thr206 in the pore-lining S6 segment can enhance or strongly block early voltage-dependent inactivation, suggesting that this residue serves as a molecular hub controlling the coupling of activation to inactivation. In contrast, truncation of the C-terminal tail enhances the early phase of inactivation yet completely blocks late use-dependent inactivation. Determination of the structure of a C-terminal tail truncation mutant and molecular modeling of conformational changes at Thr206 and the S6 activation gate led to a two-step model of these gating processes. First, bending of the S6 segment, local protein interactions dependent on the size of Thr206, and exchange of hydrogen-bonding partners at the level of Thr206 trigger pore opening followed by the early phase of voltage-dependent inactivation. Thereafter, conformational changes in the C-terminal tail lead to late use-dependent inactivation. These results have important implications for the sequence of conformational changes that lead to multiphase inactivation of NaVAb and other sodium channels.
Project description:Fullerene derivatives demonstrate considerable potential for numerous biological applications, such as the effective inhibition of HIV protease. Recently, they were identified for their ability to indiscriminately block biological ion channels. A fullerene derivative which specifically blocks a particular ion channel could lead to a new set of drug leads for the treatment of various ion channel-related diseases. Here, we demonstrate their extraordinary potential by designing a fullerene which mimics some of the functions of μ-conotoxin, a peptide derived from cone snail venom which potently binds to the bacterial voltage-gated sodium channel (NavAb). We show, using molecular dynamics simulations, that the C84 fullerene with six lysine derivatives uniformly attached to its surface is selective to NavAb over a voltage-gated potassium channel (Kv1.3). The side chain of one of the lysine residues protrudes into the selectivity filter of the channel, while the methionine residues located just outside of the channel form hydrophobic contacts with the carbon atoms of the fullerene. The modified C84 fullerene strongly binds to the NavAb channel with an affinity of 46 nM but binds weakly to Kv1.3 with an affinity of 3 mM. This potent blocker of NavAb may serve as a structural template from which potent compounds can be designed for the targeting of mammalian Nav channels. There is a genuine need to target mammalian Nav channels as a form of treatment of various diseases which have been linked to their malfunction, such as epilepsy and chronic pain.
Project description:Sodium channel blockers are used to control electrical excitability in cells as a treatment for epileptic seizures and cardiac arrhythmia, and to provide short term control of pain. Development of the next generation of drugs that can selectively target one of the nine types of voltage-gated sodium channel expressed in the body requires a much better understanding of how current channel blockers work. Here we make use of the recently determined crystal structure of the bacterial voltage gated sodium channel NavAb in molecular dynamics simulations to elucidate the position at which the sodium channel blocking drugs benzocaine and phenytoin bind to the protein as well as to understand how these drugs find their way into resting channels. We show that both drugs have two likely binding sites in the pore characterised by nonspecific, hydrophobic interactions: one just above the activation gate, and one at the entrance to the the lateral lipid filled fenestrations. Three independent methods find the same sites and all suggest that binding to the activation gate is slightly more favourable than at the fenestration. Both drugs are found to be able to pass through the fenestrations into the lipid with only small energy barriers, suggesting that this can represent the long posited hydrophobic entrance route for neutral drugs. Our simulations highlight the importance of a number of residues in directing drugs into and through the fenestration, and in forming the drug binding sites.
Project description:Voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSCs) are heteromeric protein complexes that initiate action potentials in excitable cells. The voltage-gated sodium channel accessory subunit, Nav?1, allosterically modulates the ? subunit pore structure upon binding. To date, the molecular determinants of the interface remain unknown. We made use of sequence, knowledge and structure-based methods to identify residues critical to the association of the ? and ?1 Nav1.4 subunits. The Nav?1 point mutant C43A disrupted the modulation of voltage dependence of activation and inactivation and delayed the peak current decay, the recovery from inactivation, and induced a use-dependent decay upon depolarisation at 1 Hz. The Nav?1 mutant R89A selectively delayed channel inactivation and recovery from inactivation and had no effect on voltage dependence or repetitive depolarisations. Nav?1 mutants Y32A and G33M selectively modified the half voltage of inactivation without altering the kinetics. Despite low sequence identity, highly conserved structural elements were identified. Our models were consistent with published data and may help relate pathologies associated with VGSCs to the Nav?1 subunit.
Project description:Voltage-gated sodium (NaV) channels initiate action potentials in nerve, muscle, and other electrically excitable cells. The structural basis of voltage gating is uncertain because the resting state exists only at deeply negative membrane potentials. To stabilize the resting conformation, we inserted voltage-shifting mutations and introduced a disulfide crosslink in the VS of the ancestral bacterial sodium channel NaVAb. Here, we present a cryo-EM structure of the resting state and a complete voltage-dependent gating mechanism. The S4 segment of the VS is drawn intracellularly, with three gating charges passing through the transmembrane electric field. This movement forms an elbow connecting S4 to the S4-S5 linker, tightens the collar around the S6 activation gate, and prevents its opening. Our structure supports the classical "sliding helix" mechanism of voltage sensing and provides a complete gating mechanism for voltage sensor function, pore opening, and activation-gate closure based on high-resolution structures of a single sodium channel protein.
Project description:Eukaryotic voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channels contribute to the rising phase of action potentials and served as an early muse for biophysicists laying the foundation for our current understanding of electrical signaling. Given their central role in electrical excitability, it is not surprising that (a) inherited mutations in genes encoding for Nav channels and their accessory subunits have been linked to excitability disorders in brain, muscle, and heart; and (b) Nav channels are targeted by various drugs and naturally occurring toxins. Although the overall architecture and behavior of these channels are likely to be similar to the more well-studied voltage-gated potassium channels, eukaryotic Nav channels lack structural and functional symmetry, a notable difference that has implications for gating and selectivity. Activation of voltage-sensing modules of the first three domains in Nav channels is sufficient to open the channel pore, whereas movement of the domain IV voltage sensor is correlated with inactivation. Also, structure-function studies of eukaryotic Nav channels show that a set of amino acids in the selectivity filter, referred to as DEKA locus, is essential for Na(+) selectivity. Structures of prokaryotic Nav channels have also shed new light on mechanisms of drug block. These structures exhibit lateral fenestrations that are large enough to allow drugs or lipophilic molecules to gain access into the inner vestibule, suggesting that this might be the passage for drug entry into a closed channel. In this Review, we will synthesize our current understanding of Nav channel gating mechanisms, ion selectivity and permeation, and modulation by therapeutics and toxins in light of the new structures of the prokaryotic Nav channels that, for the time being, serve as structural models of their eukaryotic counterparts.