FHF2 isoforms differentially regulate Nav1.6-mediated resurgent sodium currents in dorsal root ganglion neurons
Resurgent Na current flows as voltage-gated Na channels recover through open states from block by an endogenous open-channel blocking protein, such as the NaVβ4 subunit. The open-channel blocker and fast-inactivation gate apparently compete directly, as slowing the onset of fast inactivation increases resurgent currents by favoring binding of the blocker. Here, we tested whether open-channel block is also sensitive to deployment of the DIV voltage sensor, which facilitates fast inactivation. We expressed NaV1.4 channels in HEK293t cells and assessed block by a free peptide replicating the cytoplasmic tail of NaVβ4 (the "β4 peptide"). Macroscopic fast inactivation was disrupted by mutations of DIS6 (L443C/A444W; "CW" channels), which reduce fast-inactivation gate binding, and/or by the site-3 toxin ATX-II, which interferes with DIV movement. In wild-type channels, the β4 peptide competed poorly with fast inactivation, but block was enhanced by ATX. With the CW mutation, large peptide-induced resurgent currents were present even without ATX, consistent with increased open-channel block upon depolarization and slower deactivation after blocker unbinding upon repolarization. The addition of ATX greatly increased transient current amplitudes and further enlarged resurgent currents, suggesting that pore access by the blocker is actually decreased by full deployment of the DIV voltage sensor. ATX accelerated recovery from block at hyperpolarized potentials, however, suggesting that the peptide unbinds more readily when DIV voltage-sensor deployment is disrupted. These results are consistent with two open states in Na channels, dependent on the DIV voltage-sensor position, which differ in affinity for the blocking protein.