PubMed 24632677

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Nav1 , Nav1.4

Title: Investigating the size and dynamics of voltage-gated sodium channel fenestrations: A molecular dynamics study.

Authors: Joe A Kaczmarski, Ben Corry

Journal, date & volume: Channels (Austin), 2014 Mar 14 , 8,

PubMed link:

Eukaryotic voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSCs) are essential for the initiation and propagation of action potentials in electrically excitable cells, and are important pharmaceutical targets for the treatment of neurological disorders such as epilepsy, cardiac arrhythmias, and chronic pain. Evidence suggests that small, hydrophobic, VGSC-blocking drugs can gain access to binding residues within the central cavity of these channels by passing through lateral, lipid-filled “fenestrations” which run between the exterior of the protein and its central pore. Here, we use molecular dynamics simulations to investigate how the size and shape of fenestrations change over time in several bacterial VGSC models and a homology model of Nav1.4. We show that over the course of the simulations, the size of the fenestrations is primarily influenced by rapid protein motions, such as amino acid side-chain rotation, and highlight that differences between fenestration bottleneck-contributing residues are the primary cause of variations in fenestration size between the 6 bacterial models. In the eukaryotic channel model, 2 fenestrations are wide, but 2 are narrow due to differences in the amino acid sequence in the 4 domains. Lipid molecules are found to influence the size of the fenestrations by protruding acylchains into the fenestrations and displacing amino acid side-chains. Together, the results suggest that fenestrations provide viable pathways for small, flexible, hydrophobic drugs.