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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 May 6;111(18):6726-31. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1405768111. Epub 2014 Apr 21.

Modulation of a voltage-gated Na+ channel by sevoflurane involves multiple sites and distinct mechanisms.

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  • 1Department of Neuroscience, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107.


Halogenated inhaled general anesthetic agents modulate voltage-gated ion channels, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are not understood. Many general anesthetic agents regulate voltage-gated Na(+) (NaV) channels, including the commonly used drug sevoflurane. Here, we investigated the putative binding sites and molecular mechanisms of sevoflurane action on the bacterial NaV channel NaChBac by using a combination of molecular dynamics simulation, electrophysiology, and kinetic analysis. Structural modeling revealed multiple sevoflurane interaction sites possibly associated with NaChBac modulation. Electrophysiologically, sevoflurane favors activation and inactivation at low concentrations (0.2 mM), and additionally accelerates current decay at high concentrations (2 mM). Explaining these observations, kinetic modeling suggests concurrent destabilization of closed states and low-affinity open channel block. We propose that the multiple effects of sevoflurane on NaChBac result from simultaneous interactions at multiple sites with distinct affinities. This multiple-site, multiple-mode hypothesis offers a framework to study the structural basis of general anesthetic action.


MD simulations; anesthesia; anesthetics; membrane proteins

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