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The intracellular segment of the sodium channel beta 1 subunit is required for its efficient association with the channel alpha subunit.

L Meadows, J D Malhotra, A Stetzer, L L Isom, D S Ragsdale

J. Neurochem., 2001 Mar , 76, 1871-8

Sodium channels consist of a pore-forming alpha subunit and auxiliary beta 1 and beta 2 subunits. The subunit beta 1 alters the kinetics and voltage-dependence of sodium channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes or mammalian cells. Functional modulation in oocytes depends on specific regions in the N-terminal extracellular domain of beta 1, but does not require the intracellular C-terminal domain. Functional modulation is qualitatively different in mammalian cells, and thus could involve different molecular mechanisms. As a first step toward testing this hypothesis, we examined modulation of brain Na(V)1.2a sodium channel alpha subunits expressed in Chinese hamster lung cells by a mutant beta1 construct with 34 amino acids deleted from the C-terminus. This deletion mutation did not modulate sodium channel function in this cell system. Co-immunoprecipitation data suggest that this loss of functional modulation was caused by inefficient association of the mutant beta 1 with alpha, despite high levels of expression of the mutant protein. In Xenopus oocytes, injection of approximately 10,000 times more mutant beta 1 RNA was required to achieve the level of functional modulation observed with injection of full-length beta 1. Together, these findings suggest that the C-terminal cytoplasmic domain of beta 1 is an important determinant of beta1 binding to the sodium channel alpha subunit in both mammalian cells and Xenopus oocytes.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11259505