A Prokaryotic Voltage-Gated Sodium Channel

Science  14 Dec 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5550, pp. 2372-2375
DOI: 10.1126/science.1065635

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The pore-forming subunits of canonical voltage-gated sodium and calcium channels are encoded by four repeated domains of six-transmembrane (6TM) segments. We expressed and characterized a bacterial ion channel (NaChBac) from Bacillus haloduransthat is encoded by one 6TM segment. The sequence, especially in the pore region, is similar to that of voltage-gated calcium channels. The expressed channel was activated by voltage and was blocked by calcium channel blockers. However, the channel was selective for sodium. The identification of NaChBac as a functionally expressed bacterial voltage-sensitive ion-selective channel provides insight into both voltage-dependent activation and divalent cation selectivity.

  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: dclapham{at}

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