The Reconstituted Sodium Channel from Brain

  • Robert Hartshorne
  • Michael Tamkun
  • Mauricio Montal


The voltage-sensitive sodium channel mediates the inward sodium current during the depolarizing phase of an action potential. Because of its central role in impulse conduction, it has been the subject of extensive investigations by electrophysiological and biochemical techniques to understand its structure and function. Sodium channels have been solubilized in detergents and purified from eel electroplax (Agnew et al., 1978; Miller et al., 1983), rat muscle (Barchi et al., 1980; Barchi, 1983), chicken heart (Lombet and Lazdunski, 1984), and rat brain (Hartshorne and Catterall, 1981, 1984; Barhanin et al., 1983; Grishin et al., 1984). The only functional property of sodium channels that is measurable in detergent solution is the binding of certain sodium-channel-specific neurotoxins. Therefore, it is necessary to reconstitute the purified channel protein to establish that it is functionally intact. The reconstitution of the sodium channel purified from eel electroplax (Rosenberg et al., 1984a, b) and rat muscle (Weigele and Barchi, 1982; Tanaka et al., 1983) is described in the two preceding chapters. Reconstitution of purified sodium channels from rat brain has been reported by Hanke et al. (1984). This chapter describes the reconstitution into lipid vesicles (Talvenheimo et al., 1982; Tamkun et al., 1984) and planar lipid bilayers (Hartshorne et al., 1985) of sodium channels purified from rat brain and the measurement of sodium channel function in these two systems.


Sodium Channel Lipid Vesicle Planar Lipid Bilayer Scorpion Toxin Sodium Channel Protein 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Hartshorne
    • 1
  • Michael Tamkun
    • 2
  • Mauricio Montal
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Biology and PhysicsUniversity of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Carnegie Institute of WashingtonBaltimoreUSA

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