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Science. 2001 Dec 14;294(5550):2372-5.

A prokaryotic voltage-gated sodium channel.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Enders 1309, 320 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The pore-forming subunits of canonical voltage-gated sodium and calcium channels are encoded by four repeated domains of six-transmembrane (6TM) segments. We expressed and characterized a bacterial ion channel (NaChBac) from Bacillus halodurans that is encoded by one 6TM segment. The sequence, especially in the pore region, is similar to that of voltage-gated calcium channels. The expressed channel was activated by voltage and was blocked by calcium channel blockers. However, the channel was selective for sodium. The identification of NaChBac as a functionally expressed bacterial voltage-sensitive ion-selective channel provides insight into both voltage-dependent activation and divalent cation selectivity.

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