National Center for
4F4L: Open Channel Conformation Of A Voltage Gated Sodium Channel
Structure of a bacterial voltage-gated sodium channel pore reveals mechanisms of opening and closing
Nat Commun (2012) 3 p.1102
Voltage-gated sodium channels are vital membrane proteins essential for electrical signalling; in humans, they are key targets for the development of pharmaceutical drugs. Here we report the crystal structure of an open-channel conformation of NavMs, the bacterial channel pore from the marine bacterium Magnetococcus sp. (strain MC-1). It differs from the recently published crystal structure of a closed form of a related bacterial sodium channel (NavAb) by having its internal cavity accessible to the cytoplasmic surface as a result of a bend/rotation about a central residue in the carboxy-terminal transmembrane segment. This produces an open activation gate of sufficient diameter to allow hydrated sodium ions to pass through. Comparison of the open and closed structures provides new insight into the features of the functional states present in the activation cycles of sodium channels and the mechanism of channel opening and closing.