Voltage-gated sodium channels

Unless otherwise stated all data on this page refer to the human proteins. Gene information is provided for human (Hs), mouse (Mm) and rat (Rn).

Overview

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Sodium channels are voltage-gated sodium-selective ion channels present in the membrane of most excitable cells. Sodium channels comprise of one pore-forming α subunit, which may be associated with either one or two β subunits [12]. α-Subunits consist of four homologous domains (I–IV), each containing six transmembrane segments (S1–S6) and a pore-forming loop. The positively charged fourth transmembrane segment (S4) acts as a voltage sensor and is involved in channel gating. The crystal structure of the bacterial NavAb channel has revealed a number of novel structural features compared to earlier potassium channel structures including a short selectivity filter with ion selectivity determined by interactions with glutamate side chains [15]. Interestingly, the pore region is penetrated by fatty acyl chains that extend into the central cavity which may allow the entry of small, hydrophobic pore-blocking drugs [15]. Auxiliary β1, β2, β3 and β4 subunits consist of a large extracellular N-terminal domain, a single transmembrane segment and a shorter cytoplasmic domain.

The nomenclature for sodium channels was proposed by Goldin et al., (2000) [11] and approved by the NC-IUPHAR subcommittee on sodium channels (Catterall et al., 2005, [4]).

Subunits

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NC-IUPHAR subcommittee and family contributors

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How to cite this family page

Database page citation:

Voltage-gated sodium channels. Accessed on 22/12/2014. IUPHAR/BPS Guide to PHARMACOLOGY, http://www.guidetopharmacology.org/GRAC/FamilyDisplayForward?familyId=82.

Concise Guide to PHARMACOLOGY citation:

Alexander SPH, Benson HE, Faccenda E, Pawson AJ, Sharman JL, Catterall WA, Spedding M, Peters JA and Harmar AJ, CGTP Collaborators. (2013) The Concise Guide to PHARMACOLOGY 2013/14: Ion Channels. Br J Pharmacol. 170: 1607–1651.