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J Biol Chem. 1997 Aug 22;272(34):20975-8.

Molecular cloning of a non-inactivating proton-gated Na+ channel specific for sensory neurons.

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Institut de Pharmacologie Mol├ęculaire et Cellulaire, CNRS, 660 route des Lucioles, Sophia Antipolis, 06560 Valbonne, France.


We have cloned and expressed a novel proton-gated Na+ channel subunit that is specific for sensory neurons. In COS cells, it forms a Na+ channel that responds to a drop of the extracellular pH with both a rapidly inactivating and a sustained Na+ current. This biphasic kinetic closely resembles that of the H+-gated current described in sensory neurons of dorsal root ganglia (1). Both the abundance of this novel H+-gated Na+ channel subunit in sensory neurons and the kinetics of the channel suggest that it is part of the channel complex responsible for the sustained H+-activated cation current in sensory neurons that is thought to be important for the prolonged perception of pain that accompanies tissue acidosis (1, 2).

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