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Neuron. 1991 Jan;6(1):165-75.

Activation of protein kinase C alters voltage dependence of a Na+ channel.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Israel.


Phorbol esters and purified protein kinase C (PKC) have been shown to down-modulate the voltage-dependent Na+ channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes injected with chick brain RNA. We used the two-electrode voltage-clamp technique to demonstrate that a Na+ channel expressed in oocytes injected with RNA coding for the alpha subunit of the channel alone (VA200, a variant of rat brain type IIA) is also inhibited by PKC activation. The inhibition of Na+ currents, expressed in oocytes injected with either alpha subunit RNA (rat) or total brain RNA (chick), is voltage-dependent, being stronger at negative potentials. It appears to result mainly from a shift in the activation curve to the right and possibly a decrease in the steepness of the voltage dependence of activation. There is little effect on the inactivation process and maximal Na+ conductance. Thus, PKC modulates the Na+ channel by a mechanism involving changes in voltage-dependent properties of its main, channel-forming alpha subunit.

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