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J Biol Chem. 1996 Mar 15;271(11):5953-6.

Structure and function of a novel voltage-gated, tetrodotoxin-resistant sodium channel specific to sensory neurons.

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  • 1Institute of Pharmacology, Neurobiology Unit, Roche Bioscience, Palo Alto, CA 94304, USA.


Small neurons of the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) are known to play an important role in nociceptive mechanisms. These neurons express two types of sodium current, which differ in their inactivation kinetics and sensitivity to tetrodotoxin. Here, we report the cloning of the alpha-subunit of a novel, voltage-gated sodium channel (PN3) from rat DRG. Functional expression in Xenopus oocytes showed that PN3 is a voltage-gated sodium channel with a depolarized activation potential, slow inactivation kinetics, and resistance to high concentrations of tetrodotoxin. In situ hybridization to rat DRG indicated that PN3 is expressed primarily in small sensory neurons of the peripheral nervous system.

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