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Peptides. 2006 May;27(5):1138-52. Epub 2006 Mar 3.

FMRFamide-gated sodium channel and ASIC channels: a new class of ionotropic receptors for FMRFamide and related peptides.

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Institut de Pharmacologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, CNRS-Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis UMR 6097, 660 route des Lucioles, Sophia Antipolis, 06560 Valbonne, France.


FMRFamide and related peptides typically exert their action through G-protein coupled receptors. However, two ionotropic receptors for these peptides have recently been identified. They are both members of the epithelial amiloride-sensitive Na+ channel and degenerin (ENaC/DEG) family of ion channels. The invertebrate FMRFamide-gated Na+ channel (FaNaC) is a neuronal Na+-selective channel which is directly gated by micromolar concentrations of FMRFamide and related tetrapeptides. Its response is fast and partially desensitizing, and FaNaC has been proposed to participate in peptidergic neurotransmission. On the other hand, mammalian acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) are not gated but are directly modulated by FMRFamide and related mammalian peptides like NPFF and NPSF. ASICs are activated by external protons and are therefore extracellular pH sensors. They are expressed both in the central and peripheral nervous system and appear to be involved in many physiological and pathophysiological processes such as hippocampal long-term potentiation and defects in learning and memory, acquired fear-related behavior, retinal function, brain ischemia, pain sensation in ischemia and inflammation, taste perception, hearing functions, and mechanoperception. The potentiation of ASIC activity by endogenous RFamide neuropeptides probably participates in the response to noxious acidosis in sensory and central neurons. Available data also raises the possibility of the existence of still unknown FMRFamide related endogenous peptides acting as direct agonists for ASICs.

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