Calmodulin regulates current density and frequency-dependent inhibition of sodium channel Nav1.8 in DRG neurons.
Voltage-gated sodium channels initiate and propagate action potentials in excitable cells. The tetrodotoxin-resistant Na(+) channel (Na(V)1.8/SNS) is expressed in damage-sensing neurons (nociceptors) and plays an important role in pain pathways. Expression of high levels of functional Na(V)1.8 in heterologous cells has proved problematic, even in the presence of known sodium channel accessory beta-subunits. This suggests that other regulatory proteins are required for normal levels of Na(V)1.8 expression. Here we report the use of a yeast two-hybrid system and a rat dorsal root ganglion cDNA library to identify 28 different clones encoding proteins which interact with intracellular domains of Na(V)1.8. Many clones are expressed at high levels in small diameter DRG neurons as judged by in situ hybridization. Interacting proteins include cytoplasmic elements and linker proteins (e.g. beta-actin and moesin), enzymes (e.g. inositol polyphosphate 5-phosphatase and TAO2 thousand and one protein kinase), channels and membrane-associated proteins (voltage-dependent anion channel VDAC3V and tetraspanin), as well as motor proteins (dynein intermediate and light chain) and transcripts encoding previously undescribed proteins. Immunoprecipitation (pull-down) assays confirm that some of the proteins interact with, and may hence regulate, Na(V)1.8 in vivo.