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The axon initial segment (AIS) is a specialized region in neurons where action potentials are initiated. It is commonly assumed that this process requires a high density of voltage-gated sodium (Na(+)) channels. Paradoxically, the results of patch-clamp studies suggest that the Na(+) channel density at the AIS is similar to that at the soma and proximal(More)
Using site-directed fluorescent labeling, we examined conformational changes in the S4 segment of each domain of the human skeletal muscle sodium channel (hSkM1). The fluorescence signals from S4 segments in domains I and II follow activation and are unaffected as fast inactivation settles. In contrast, the fluorescence signals from S4 segments in domains(More)
Understanding the molecular genetic basis of adaptations provides incomparable insight into the genetic mechanisms by which evolutionary diversification takes place. Whether the evolution of common traits in different lineages proceeds by similar or unique mutations, and the degree to which phenotypic evolution is controlled by changes in gene regulation as(More)
Rat skeletal muscle (Skm1) sodium channel alpha and beta 1 subunits were coexpressed in Xenopus oocytes, and resulting sodium currents were recorded from on-cell macropatches. First, the kinetics and steady-state probability of both fast and slow inactivation in Skm1 wild type (WT) sodium channels were characterized. Next, we confirmed that mutation of IFM(More)
Populations of the garter snake Thamnophis sirtalis have evolved geographically variable resistance to tetrodotoxin (TTX) in a coevolutionary arms race with their toxic prey, newts of the genus Taricha. Here, we identify a physiological mechanism, the expression of TTX-resistant sodium channels in skeletal muscle, responsible for adaptive diversification in(More)
Tetrodotoxin (TTX) is a potent toxin that specifically binds to voltage-gated sodium channels (NaV). TTX binding physically blocks the flow of sodium ions through NaV, thereby preventing action potential generation and propagation. TTX has different binding affinities for different NaV isoforms. These differences are imparted by amino acid substitutions in(More)
Slow inactivation determines the availability of voltage-gated sodium channels during prolonged depolarization. Slow inactivation in hNa(V)1.4 channels occurs with a higher probability than hNa(V)1.5 sodium channels; however, the precise molecular mechanism for this difference remains unclear. Using the macropatch technique we show that the DII S5-S6(More)
Slow inactivation in voltage-gated sodium channels is a biophysical process that governs the availability of sodium channels over extended periods of time. Slow inactivation, therefore, plays an important role in controlling membrane excitability, firing properties, and spike frequency adaptation. Defective slow inactivation is associated with several(More)
The available pool of sodium channels, and thus cell excitability, is regulated by both fast and slow inactivation. In cardiac tissue, the requirement for sustained firing of long-duration action potentials suggests that slow inactivation in cardiac sodium channels may differ from slow inactivation in skeletal muscle sodium channels. To test this(More)
The peptide L-phenylalanyl-L-methionyl-L-arginyl-L-phenylalaninamide (FMRF-amide) was pressure-applied onto the somata of bursting neurons L4 and L6 in the Aplysia abdominal ganglion. FMRF-amide causes a biphasic response, first depolarizing and then hyperpolarizing the neuron. In voltage-clamp experiments, FMRF-amide induces an inward current that begins(More)