Biophysical Adaptations of Prokaryotic Voltage-Gated Sodium Channels

T. N. Vien, P. G. DeCaen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


This chapter describes the adaptive features found in voltage-gated sodium channels (NaVs) of prokaryotes and eukaryotes. These two families are distinct, having diverged early in evolutionary history but maintain a surprising degree of convergence in function. While prokaryotic NaVs are required for growth and motility, eukaryotic NaVs selectively conduct fast electrical currents for short- and long-range signaling across cell membranes in mammalian organs. Current interest in prokaryotic NaVs is stoked by their resolved high-resolution structures and functional features which are reminiscent of eukaryotic NaVs. In this chapter, comparisons between eukaryotic and prokaryotic NaVs are made to highlight the shared and unique aspects of ion selectivity, voltage sensitivity, and pharmacology. Examples of prokaryotic and eukaryotic NaV convergent evolution will be discussed within the context of their structural features.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNa Channels from Phyla to Function, 2016
EditorsSergei Yu. Noskov, Robert J. French
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)9780128053867
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

Publication series

NameCurrent Topics in Membranes
ISSN (Print)1063-5823


  • Adaptations
  • Bacteria
  • Ion channel pharmacology
  • Selectivity
  • Sodium channel
  • Voltage sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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