Molecule of the Month: Voltage-gated Sodium Channels
Voltage-gated sodium channels transmit signals in a wave through the nervous system.
Exploring the Structure
Voltage-gated Sodium Channel
Researchers have recently captured open and closed snapshots of voltage gating, using a simpler bacterial form of the sodium channel. These channels are composed of four identical subunits that together form a structure similar to the one-chain version in our cells. The structures show that the voltage-sensing element moves as the voltage drops, tugging on a segment that connects to the central pore (PDB entries 5vb8, 6p6w). To explore this motion in more detail, click on the image for an interactive JSmol.
Topics for Further Discussion
- Structures of many other toxins, from spiders, scorpions, and other poisonous creatures, are available in the archive, including several structures of these toxins bound to voltage-gated sodium channels.
- Structures of voltage-gated channels for other types of ions are also available in the archive—how are they different and similar to the sodium channels?
Related PDB-101 Resources
- Browse Drugs and the Brain
- Browse Cellular Signaling
- 6j8j: Shen, H., Liu, D., Wu, K., Lei, J., Yan, N. (2019) Structures of human Nav1.7 channel in complex with auxiliary subunits and animal toxins. Science 363: 1303-1308
- 6p6w: Wisedchaisri, G., Tonggu, L., McCord, E., Gamal El-Din, T.M., Wang, L., Zheng, N., Catterall, W.A. (2019) Resting-State Structure and Gating Mechanism of a Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel. Cell 178: 993-1003
- Xu, L., Ding, X., Wang, T., Mou, S., Sun, H., Hou, T. (2019) Voltage-gated sodium channels: structures, functions, and molecular modeling. Drug Discov. Today 24, 1389-1397
- 6a95: Shen, H., Li, Z., Jiang, Y., Pan, X., Wu, J., Cristofori-Armstrong, B., Smith, J.J., Chin, Y.K.Y., Lei, J., Zhou, Q., King, G.F., Yan, N. (2018) Structural basis for the modulation of voltage-gated sodium channels by animal toxins. Science 362: eaau2596
- 5vb8: Lenaeus, M.J., Gamal El-Din, T.M., Ing, C., Ramanadane, K., Pomes, R., Zheng, N., Catterall, W.A. (2017) Structures of closed and open states of a voltage-gated sodium channel. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 114: E3051-E3060
March 2020, David Goodsellhttp://doi.org/10.2210/rcsb_pdb/mom_2020_3