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J Cell Biol. 2001 Jul 23;154(2):427-34.

Sodium channel beta1 and beta3 subunits associate with neurofascin through their extracellular immunoglobulin-like domain.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


Sequence homology predicts that the extracellular domain of the sodium channel beta1 subunit forms an immunoglobulin (Ig) fold and functions as a cell adhesion molecule. We show here that beta1 subunits associate with neurofascin, a neuronal cell adhesion molecule that plays a key role in the assembly of nodes of Ranvier. The first Ig-like domain and second fibronectin type III-like domain of neurofascin mediate the interaction with the extracellular Ig-like domain of beta1, confirming the proposed function of this domain as a cell adhesion molecule. beta1 subunits localize to nodes of Ranvier with neurofascin in sciatic nerve axons, and beta1 and neurofascin are associated as early as postnatal day 5, during the period that nodes of Ranvier are forming. This association of beta1 subunit extracellular domains with neurofascin in developing axons may facilitate recruitment and concentration of sodium channel complexes at nodes of Ranvier.

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