Role in fast inactivation of the IV/S4-S5 loop of the human muscle Na+ channel probed by cysteine mutagenesis

J Physiol. 1997 Dec 1;505 ( Pt 2)(Pt 2):345-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7793.1997.345bb.x.


1. In order to investigate the role in fast inactivation of the cytoplasmic S4-S5 loop of the fourth domain (IV/S4-S5) within the alpha-subunit of the adult human muscle Na+ channel, every single amino acid from R1469 to G1486 was substituted by a cysteine and the mutants were studied by functional expression in human embryonic kidney cells (tsA201) using whole-cell patch clamping. Effects following intracellular application of the sulfhydryl reagents MTSET and MTSES on the mutants were investigated. 2. Sixteen of eighteen mutants resulted in the formation of functional channels. For P1480C and N1484C, no Na+ currents could be detected in transfected cells. In the absence of sulfhydryl reagents, F1473C and A1481C slowed fast Na+ channel inactivation by 2- and 1.5-fold, respectively, and L1482C induced a steady-state Na+ current (Iss) of 3% of peak current (Ipeak) (1% for wild-type). 3. Upon application of MTSET and MTSES, changes in fast inactivation gating occurred for most of the mutants. The most dramatic destabilizing effects on fast inactivation were observed for M1476C (9-fold slowing of inactivation; Iss/Ipeak, 3.6%; +15 mV shift in steady-state inactivation; 2- to 3-fold acceleration of recovery from inactivation), A1481C (3-fold; 14%; +20 mV; no change) and F1473C (2.5-fold; 2.4%; +8 mV; 1.5-fold). Less pronounced destabilizing effects were observed for M1477C and L1479C. Strongly stabilizing effects on the inactivated state, that is a 20-30 mV hyperpolarizing shift of the inactivation curve associated with a 3- to 4-fold decrease in the rate of recovery from inactivation, occurred for T1470C, L1471C and A1474C. Almost all effects were independent of the membrane potential; however, A1474C only reacted when cells were depolarized. Significant effects on activation were not observed. 4. We conclude that the IV/S4-S5 loop plays an important role in fast inactivation of the muscle Na+ channel and may contribute to the formation of a receptor for the putative inactivation particle. The effects of sulfhydryl reagents on the various mutations suggest an alpha-helical structure of IV/S4-S5 (up to P1480) with destabilizing effects on inactivation for one cluster of amino acids (1473/76/77/79) and a stabilized inactivation at the opposite side of the helix (1470/71/74).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Cell Line
  • Cysteine*
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Humans
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Kidney / physiology
  • Kinetics
  • Mesylates / pharmacology
  • Models, Molecular
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques
  • Protein Structure, Secondary*
  • Sodium Channels / biosynthesis
  • Sodium Channels / chemistry*
  • Sodium Channels / physiology*
  • Sulfhydryl Reagents / pharmacology


  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Mesylates
  • Sodium Channels
  • Sulfhydryl Reagents
  • (2-sulfonatoethyl)methanethiosulfonate
  • (2-(trimethylammonium)ethyl)methanethiosulfonate
  • Cysteine