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A Hand In Regulating A Sodium Channel

  March, 2 2004 10:23
your information resource in human molecular genetics
Sodium channel dysfunction can lead to arrhythmias. A paper in the March issue of Nature Structural & Molecular Biology reports that calcium binding to a motif in the human cardiac sodium channel modulates channel gating. This may provide a molecular basis for how mutations affecting calcium binding to the motif could cause disease.

Walter Chazin and collaborators identified a calcium-binding motif called the EF-hand in the human cardiac sodium channel. They showed that this region can bind calcium directly, and that calcium binding affects the gating of the channel. An arrhythmia-causing mutation reduces calcium binding to the EF-hand and impairs the channel's gating response to calcium. These results could explain the molecular basis of some of the disease-causing mutations in the channel and suggest a potential drug target for treating arrhythmias.

Author contacts:

Walter J. Chazin
Vanderbilt University
Nashville, TN
Tel: +1 615 936 2210
E-mail: walter.chazin@vanderbilt.edu

Jeffrey R. Balser
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Nashville, TN
Tel: +1 615 936 3030
E-mail: jeff.balser@vanderbilt.edu

Also available online.

(C) Nature Structural & Molecular Biology press release.

Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza

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