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Neuron. 2005 Jan 20;45(2):233-44.

Open-channel block by the cytoplasmic tail of sodium channel beta4 as a mechanism for resurgent sodium current.

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Institute for Neuroscience, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA.


Voltage-gated sodium channels with "resurgent" kinetics are specialized for high-frequency firing. The alpha subunits interact with a blocking protein that binds open channels upon depolarization and unbinds upon repolarization, producing resurgent sodium current. By limiting classical inactivation, the cycle of block and unblock shortens refractory periods. To characterize the blocker in Purkinje neurons, we briefly exposed inside-out patches to substrate-specific proteases. Trypsin and chymotrypsin each removed resurgent current, consistent with established roles for positively charged and hydrophobic/aromatic groups in blocking sodium channels. In Purkinje cells, the only known sodium channel-associated subunit that has a cytoplasmic sequence with several positive charges and clustered hydrophobic/aromatic residues is beta4 (KKLITFILKKTREK; beta4(154-167)). After enzymatic removal of block, beta4(154-167) fully reconstituted resurgent current, whereas scrambled or point-mutated peptides were ineffective. In CA3 pyramidal neurons, which lack beta4 and endogenous block, beta4(154-167) generated resurgent current. Thus, beta4 may be the endogenous open-channel blocker responsible for resurgent kinetics.

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