Mapping of voltage sensor positions in resting and inactivated mammalian sodium channels by LRET
Voltage-gated sodium channels (Navs) play crucial roles in excitable cells. Although vertebrate Nav function has been extensively studied, the detailed structural basis for voltage-dependent gating mechanisms remain obscure. We have assessed the structural changes of the Nav voltage sensor domain using lanthanide-based resonance energy transfer (LRET) between the rat skeletal muscle voltage-gated sodium channel (Nav1.4) and fluorescently labeled Nav1.4-targeting toxins. We generated donor constructs with genetically encoded lanthanide-binding tags (LBTs) inserted at the extracellular end of the S4 segment of each domain (with a single LBT per construct). Three different Bodipy-labeled, Nav1.4-targeting toxins were synthesized as acceptors: β-scorpion toxin (Ts1)-Bodipy, KIIIA-Bodipy, and GIIIA-Bodipy analogs. Functional Nav-LBT channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes were voltage-clamped, and distinct LRET signals were obtained in the resting and slow inactivated states. Intramolecular distances computed from the LRET signals define a geometrical map of Nav1.4 with the bound toxins, and reveal voltage-dependent structural changes related to channel gating.