Voltage-gated sodium channels (version 2019.4) in the IUPHAR/BPS Guide to Pharmacology Database
- Author(s): Catterall, William A
- Goldin, Alan L
- Waxman, Stephen G
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.2218/gtopdb/f82/2019.4
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 . 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 . 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 . 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)  and approved by the NC-IUPHAR Subcommittee on sodium channels (Catterall et al., 2005, ).