Cross-kingdom auxiliary subunit modulation of a voltage-gated sodium channel.
ABSTRACT: Voltage-gated, sodium ion-selective channels (NaV) generate electrical signals contributing to the upstroke of the action potential in animals. NaVs are also found in bacteria and are members of a larger family of tetrameric voltage-gated channels that includes CaVs, KVs, and NaVs. Prokaryotic NaVs likely emerged from a homotetrameric Ca2+-selective voltage-gated progenerator, and later developed Na+ selectivity independently. The NaV signaling complex in eukaryotes contains auxiliary proteins, termed beta (?) subunits, which are potent modulators of the expression profiles and voltage-gated properties of the NaV pore, but it is unknown whether they can functionally interact with prokaryotic NaV channels. Herein, we report that the eukaryotic NaV?1-subunit isoform interacts with and enhances the surface expression as well as the voltage-dependent gating properties of the bacterial NaV, NaChBac in Xenopus oocytes. A phylogenetic analysis of the ?-subunit gene family proteins confirms that these proteins appeared roughly 420 million years ago and that they have no clear homologues in bacterial phyla. However, a comparison between eukaryotic and bacterial NaV structures highlighted the presence of a conserved fold, which could support interactions with the ?-subunit. Our electrophysiological, biochemical, structural, and bioinformatics results suggests that the prerequisites for ?-subunit regulation are an evolutionarily stable and intrinsic property of some voltage-gated channels.
Project description:Exploring the interaction of ligands with voltage-gated sodium channels (NaVs) has advanced our understanding of their pharmacology. Herein, we report the purification and characterization of a novel non-selective mammalian and bacterial NaVs toxin, JZTx-14, from the venom of the spider Chilobrachys jingzhao. This toxin potently inhibited the peak currents of mammalian NaV1.2?1.8 channels and the bacterial NaChBac channel with low IC50 values (<1 µM), and it mainly inhibited the fast inactivation of the NaV1.9 channel. Analysis of NaV1.5/NaV1.9 chimeric channel showed that the NaV1.5 domain II S3?4 loop is involved in toxin association. Kinetics data obtained from studying toxin?NaV1.2 channel interaction showed that JZTx-14 was a gating modifier that possibly trapped the channel in resting state; however, it differed from site 4 toxin HNTx-III by irreversibly blocking NaV currents and showing state-independent binding with the channel. JZTx-14 might stably bind to a conserved toxin pocket deep within the NaV1.2?1.8 domain II voltage sensor regardless of channel conformation change, and its effect on NaVs requires the toxin to trap the S3?4 loop in its resting state. For the NaChBac channel, JZTx-14 positively shifted its conductance-voltage (G?V) and steady-state inactivation relationships. An alanine scan analysis of the NaChBac S3?4 loop revealed that the 108th phenylalanine (F108) was the key residue determining the JZTx-14?NaChBac interaction. In summary, this study provided JZTx-14 with potent but promiscuous inhibitory activity on both the ancestor bacterial NaVs and the highly evolved descendant mammalian NaVs, and it is a useful probe to understand the pharmacology of NaVs.
Project description:The venom of the spider Heteropoda venatoria produced lethal effect to cockroaches as reported in our previous study, and could be a resource for naturally-occurring insecticides. The present study characterized a novel cockroach voltage-gated sodium channels (NaVs) antagonist, ?-sparatoxin-Hv2 (?-SPRTX-Hv2 for short), from this venom. ?-SPRTX-Hv2 is composed of 37 amino acids and contains six conserved cysteines. We synthesized the toxin by using the chemical synthesis method. The toxin was lethal to cockroaches when intraperitoneally injected, with a LD50 value of 2.8 nmol/g of body weight. Electrophysiological data showed that the toxin potently blocked NaVs in cockroach dorsal unpaired median (DUM) neurons, with an IC50 of 833.7 ± 132.2 nM, but it hardly affected the DUM voltage-gated potassium channels (KVs) and the DUM high-voltage-activated calcium channels (HVA CaVs). The toxin also did not affect NaVs, HVA CaVs, and Kvs in rat dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons, as well as NaV subtypes NaV1.3?1.5, NaV1.7, and NaV1.8. No envenomation symptoms were observed when ?-SPRTX-Hv2 was intraperitoneally injected into mouse at the dose of 7.0 ?g/g. In summary, ?-SPRTX-Hv2 is a novel insecticidal toxin from H. venatoria venom. It might exhibit its effect by blocking the insect NaVs and is a candidate for developing bioinsecticide.
Project description:Planar lipid bilayer device, alternatively known as BLM, is a powerful tool to study functional properties of conducting membrane proteins such as ion channels and porins. In this work, we used BLM to study the prokaryotic voltage-gated sodium channel (Nav) NaChBac in a well-defined membrane environment. Navs are an essential component for the generation and propagation of electric signals in excitable cells. The successes in the biochemical, biophysical and crystallographic studies on prokaryotic Navs in recent years has greatly promoted the understanding of the molecular mechanism that underlies these proteins and their eukaryotic counterparts. In this work, we investigated the single-molecule conductance and ionic selectivity behavior of NaChBac. Purified NaChBac protein was first reconstituted into lipid vesicles, which is subsequently incorporated into planar lipid bilayer by fusion. At single-molecule level, we were able to observe three distinct long-lived conductance sub-states of NaChBac. Change in the membrane potential switches on the channel mainly by increasing its opening probability. In addition, we found that individual NaChBac has similar permeability for Na+, K+, and Ca2+. The single-molecule behavior of the full-length protein is essentially highly stochastic. Our results show that planar lipid bilayer device can be used to study purified ion channels at single-molecule level in an artificial environment, and such studies can reveal new protein properties that are otherwise not observable in in vivo ensemble studies.
Project description:Propofol is widely used in the clinic for the induction and maintenance of general anesthesia. As with most general anesthetics, however, our understanding of its mechanism of action remains incomplete. Local and general anesthetics largely inhibit voltage-gated Na+ channels (Navs) by inducing an apparent stabilization of the inactivated state, associated in some instances with pore block. To determine the biophysical and molecular basis of propofol action in Navs, we investigated NaChBac and NavMs, two prokaryotic Navs with distinct voltage dependencies and gating kinetics, by whole-cell patch clamp electrophysiology in the absence and presence of propofol at clinically relevant concentrations (2-10 µM). In both Navs, propofol induced a hyperpolarizing shift of the pre-pulse inactivation curve without any significant effects on recovery from inactivation at strongly hyperpolarized voltages, demonstrating that propofol does not stabilize the inactivated state. Moreover, there was no evidence of fast or slow pore block by propofol in a non-inactivating NaChBac mutant (T220A). Propofol also induced hyperpolarizing shifts of the conductance-voltage relationships with negligible effects on the time constants of deactivation at hyperpolarized voltages, indicating that propofol does not stabilize the open state. Instead, propofol decreases the time constants of macroscopic activation and inactivation. Adopting a kinetic scheme of Nav gating that assumes preferential closed-state recovery from inactivation, a 1.7-fold acceleration of the rate constant of activation and a 1.4-fold acceleration of the rate constant of inactivation were sufficient to reproduce experimental observations with computer simulations. In addition, molecular dynamics simulations and molecular docking suggest that propofol binding involves interactions with gating machinery in the S4-S5 linker and external pore regions. Our findings show that propofol is primarily a positive gating modulator of prokaryotic Navs, which ultimately inhibits the channels by promoting activation-coupled inactivation.
Project description:Batrachotoxin (BTX), an alkaloid from skin secretions of dendrobatid frogs, causes paralysis and death by facilitating activation and inhibiting deactivation of eukaryotic voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channels, which underlie action potentials in nerve, muscle, and heart. A full understanding of the mechanism by which BTX modifies eukaryotic Nav gating awaits determination of high-resolution structures of functional toxin-channel complexes. Here, we investigate the action of BTX on the homotetrameric prokaryotic Nav channels NaChBac and NavSp1. By combining mutational analysis and whole-cell patch clamp with molecular and kinetic modeling, we show that BTX hinders deactivation and facilitates activation in a use-dependent fashion. Our molecular model shows the horseshoe-shaped BTX molecule bound within the open pore, forming hydrophobic H-bonds and cation-? contacts with the pore-lining helices, leaving space for partially dehydrated sodium ions to permeate through the hydrophilic inner surface of the horseshoe. We infer that bulky BTX, bound at the level of the gating-hinge residues, prevents the S6 rearrangements that are necessary for closure of the activation gate. Our results reveal general similarities to, and differences from, BTX actions on eukaryotic Nav channels, whose major subunit is a single polypeptide formed by four concatenated, homologous, nonidentical domains that form a pseudosymmetric pore. Our determination of the mechanism by which BTX activates homotetrameric voltage-gated channels reveals further similarities between eukaryotic and prokaryotic Nav channels and emphasizes the tractability of bacterial Nav channels as models of voltage-dependent ion channel gating. The results contribute toward a deeper, atomic-level understanding of use-dependent natural and synthetic Nav channel agonists and antagonists, despite their overlapping binding motifs on the channel proteins.
Project description:Voltage-gated Na+ (NaV) channels regulate homeostasis in bacteria and control membrane electrical excitability in mammals. Compared to their mammalian counterparts, bacterial NaV channels possess a simpler, fourfold symmetric structure and have facilitated studies of the structural basis of channel gating. However, the pharmacology of bacterial NaV remains largely unexplored. Here we systematically screened 39 NaV modulators on a bacterial channel (NaChBac) and characterized a selection of compounds on NaChBac and a mammalian channel (human NaV1.7). We found that while many compounds interact with both channels, they exhibit distinct functional effects. For example, the local anesthetics ambroxol and lidocaine block both NaV1.7 and NaChBac but affect activation and inactivation of the two channels to different extents. The voltage-sensing domain targeting toxin BDS-I increases NaV1.7 but decreases NaChBac peak currents. The pore binding toxins aconitine and veratridine block peak currents of NaV1.7 and shift activation (aconitine) and inactivation (veratridine) respectively. In NaChBac, they block the peak current by binding to the pore residue F224. Nonetheless, aconitine has no effect on activation or inactivation, while veratridine only modulates activation of NaChBac. The conservation and divergence in the pharmacology of bacterial and mammalian NaV channels provide insights into the molecular basis of channel gating and will facilitate organism-specific drug discovery.
Project description:NaChBac is a bacterial voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channel that shows sequence similarity to voltage-gated calcium channels. To understand the ion-permeation mechanism of Nav channels, we combined molecular dynamics simulation, structural biology and electrophysiological approaches to investigate the recently determined structure of NavRh, a marine bacterial NaChBac ortholog. Two Na(+) binding sites are identified in the selectivity filter (SF) in our simulations: The extracellular Na(+) ion first approaches site 1 constituted by the side groups of Ser181 and Glu183, and then spontaneously arrives at the energetically more favorable site 2 formed by the carbonyl oxygens of Leu179 and Thr178. In contrast, Ca(2+) ions are prone to being trapped by Glu183 at site 1, which then blocks the entrance of both Na(+) and Ca(2+) to the vestibule of the SF. In addition, Na(+) permeates through the selective filter in an asymmetrical manner, a feature that resembles that of the mammalian Nav orthologs. The study reported here provides insights into the mechanism of ion selectivity on Na(+) over Ca(2+) in mammalian Nav channels.
Project description:Voltage-gated sodium (NaV) channels are important targets of general anesthetics, including the intravenous anesthetic propofol. Electrophysiology studies on the prokaryotic NaV channel NaChBac have demonstrated that propofol promotes channel activation and accelerates activation-coupled inactivation, but the molecular mechanisms of these effects are unclear. Here, guided by computational docking and molecular dynamics simulations, we predict several propofol-binding sites in NaChBac. We then strategically place small fluorinated probes at these putative binding sites and experimentally quantify the interaction strengths with a fluorinated propofol analogue, 4-fluoropropofol. In vitro and in vivo measurements show that 4-fluoropropofol and propofol have similar effects on NaChBac function and nearly identical anesthetizing effects on tadpole mobility. Using quantitative analysis by 19F-NMR saturation transfer difference spectroscopy, we reveal strong intermolecular cross-relaxation rate constants between 4-fluoropropofol and four different regions of NaChBac, including the activation gate and selectivity filter in the pore, the voltage sensing domain, and the S4-S5 linker. Unlike volatile anesthetics, 4-fluoropropofol does not bind to the extracellular interface of the pore domain. Collectively, our results show that propofol inhibits NaChBac at multiple sites, likely with distinct modes of action. This study provides a molecular basis for understanding the net inhibitory action of propofol on NaV channels.
Project description:Halogenated inhaled general anesthetic agents modulate voltage-gated ion channels, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are not understood. Many general anesthetic agents regulate voltage-gated Na(+) (NaV) channels, including the commonly used drug sevoflurane. Here, we investigated the putative binding sites and molecular mechanisms of sevoflurane action on the bacterial NaV channel NaChBac by using a combination of molecular dynamics simulation, electrophysiology, and kinetic analysis. Structural modeling revealed multiple sevoflurane interaction sites possibly associated with NaChBac modulation. Electrophysiologically, sevoflurane favors activation and inactivation at low concentrations (0.2 mM), and additionally accelerates current decay at high concentrations (2 mM). Explaining these observations, kinetic modeling suggests concurrent destabilization of closed states and low-affinity open channel block. We propose that the multiple effects of sevoflurane on NaChBac result from simultaneous interactions at multiple sites with distinct affinities. This multiple-site, multiple-mode hypothesis offers a framework to study the structural basis of general anesthetic action.
Project description:Voltage-gated sodium channels (Nav) produce sodium currents that underlie the initiation and propagation of action potentials in nerve and muscle cells. Fibroblast growth factor homologous factors (FHFs) bind to the intracellular C-terminal region of the Nav alpha subunit to modulate fast inactivation of the channel. In this study we solved the crystal structure of a 149-residue-long fragment of human FHF2A which unveils the structural features of the homology core domain of all 10 human FHF isoforms. Through analysis of crystal packing contacts and site-directed mutagenesis experiments we identified a conserved surface on the FHF core domain that mediates channel binding in vitro and in vivo. Mutations at this channel binding surface impaired the ability of FHFs to co-localize with Navs at the axon initial segment of hippocampal neurons. The mutations also disabled FHF modulation of voltage-dependent fast inactivation of sodium channels in neuronal cells. Based on our data, we propose that FHFs constitute auxiliary subunits for Navs.