Dependence of μ-conotoxin block of sodium channels on ionic strength but not on the permeating [Na+]. Implications for the distinctive mechanistic interactions between Na+ and K+ channel pore-blocking toxins and their molecular targets

Ronald A. Li, Kwokyin Hui, Robert J. French, Kazuki Sato, Charles A. Henrikson, Gordon F. Tomaselli, Eduardo Marbán

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    13 Scopus citations

    Abstract

    μ-Conotoxins (μ-CTXs) are Na+ channel-blocking, 22-amino acid peptides produced by the sea snail Conus geographus. Although K+ channel pore-blocking toxins show specific interactions with permeant ions and strong dependence on the ionic strength (μ), no such dependence has been reported for μ-CTX and Na+ channels. Such properties would offer insight into the binding and blocking mechanism of μ-CTX as well as functional and structural properties of the Na+ channel pore. Here we studied the effects of μ and permeant ion concentration ([Na+]) on μ-CTX block of rat skeletal muscle (μ1, Nav1.4) Na + channels. μ-CTX sensitivity of wild-type and E758Q channels increased significantly (by ∼20-fold) when μ was lowered by substituting external Na+ with equimolar sucrose (from 140 to 35 mM Na +); however, toxin block was unaltered (p > 0.05) when μ was maintained by replacement of [Na+] with N-methyl-D-glucamine (NMG+), suggesting that the enhanced sensitivity at low μ was not due to reduction in [Na+]. Single-channel recordings identified the association rate constant, kon, as the primary determinant of the changes in affinity (kon increased 40- and 333-fold for μ-CTX D2N/R13Q and D12N/R13Q, respectively, when symmetric 200 mM Na+ was reduced to 50 mM). In contrast, dissociation rates changed <2-fold for the same derivatives under the same conditions. Experiments with additional μ-CTX derivatives identified toxin residues Arg-1, Arg-13, and Lys-16 as important contributors to the sensitivity to external μ. Taken together, our findings indicate that μ-CTX block of Na+ channels depends critically on μ but not specifically on [Na+], contrasting with the known behavior of pore-blocking K+ channel toxins. These findings suggest that different degrees of ion interaction, underlying the fundamental conduction mechanisms of Na+ and K+ channels, are mirrored in ion interactions with pore-blocking toxins.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)30912-30919
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
    Volume278
    Issue number33
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Aug 15 2003

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Biochemistry
    • Molecular Biology
    • Cell Biology

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