PubMed 26274802

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Nav1 , Nav1.4

Title: Mechanism of Ion Permeation in Mammalian Voltage-Gated Sodium Channels.

Authors: Somayeh Mahdavi, Serdar Kuyucak

Journal, date & volume: PLoS ONE, 2015 , 10, e0133000

PubMed link:

Recent determination of the crystal structures of bacterial voltage-gated sodium (NaV) channels have raised hopes that modeling of the mammalian counterparts could soon be achieved. However, there are substantial differences between the pore domains of the bacterial and mammalian NaV channels, which necessitates careful validation of mammalian homology models constructed from the bacterial NaV structures. Such a validated homology model for the NaV1.4 channel was constructed recently using the extensive mutagenesis data available for binding of μ-conotoxins. Here we use this NaV1.4 model to study the ion permeation mechanism in mammalian NaV channels. Linking of the DEKA residues in the selectivity filter with residues in the neighboring domains is found to be important for keeping the permeation pathway open. Molecular dynamics simulations and potential of mean force calculations reveal that there is a binding site for a Na+ ion just inside the DEKA locus, and 1-2 Na+ ions can occupy the vestibule near the EEDD ring. These sites are separated by a low free energy barrier, suggesting that inward conduction occurs when a Na+ ion in the vestibule goes over the free energy barrier and pushes the Na+ ion in the filter to the intracellular cavity, consistent with the classical knock-on mechanism. The NaV1.4 model also provides a good description of the observed Na+/K+ selectivity.