, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 17-30
Date: 06 Jan 2007

Insect sodium channels and insecticide resistance

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Abstract

Voltage-gated sodium channels are essential for the generation and propagation of action potentials (i.e., electrical impulses) in excitable cells. Although most of our knowledge about sodium channels is derived from decades of studies of mammalian isoforms, research on insect sodium channels is revealing both common and unique aspects of sodium channel biology. In particular, our understanding of the molecular dynamics and pharmacology of insect sodium channels has advanced greatly in recent years, thanks to successful functional expression of insect sodium channels in Xenopus oocytes and intensive efforts to elucidate the molecular basis of insect resistance to insecticides that target sodium channels. In this review, I discuss recent literature on insect sodium channels with emphases on the prominent role of alternative splicing and RNA editing in the generation of functionally diverse sodium channels in insects and the current understanding of the interactions between insect sodium channels and insecticides.