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Sodium Channel Protein Family

Sodium channel proteins are a group of voltage-gated channels that transport sodium ions (Na+) across the plasma membrane. They have been predominantly found in nerve, muscle, and heart tissues within the human body. Sodium channels play a key role in the mediation of initiation and propagation of action potentials. Functional sodium channels are composed of a 260 kDa α subunit forming the core of channel and one or more 33-36 kDa auxiliary β subunits. The α subunit can independently control the Na+ across cells membrane in a voltage-gated way. And it includes four repeat domains with six transmembrane helices segments (S1-S6) each. There has a channel's voltage sensor in highly conserved S4 segments. The β subunits are transmembrane glycoproteins containing a cytoplasmic C-terminal region and an extracellular N-terminal domain. And it is required for reconstitution of the functional sodium channels, involved in the regulation of channel gating, channel expression, and cell adhesion.

Sodium channels are the first members of the ion channel superfamily to be found. Here shows part of sodium channel proteins including sodium channel-associated protein 1 (SCLT1), sodium voltage-gated channel alpha subunit 10 (SCN10A), sodium voltage-gated channel alpha subunit 11 (SCN11A), etc. The expression pattern of sodium channel subtypes is a tissue-specific, with distinct roles in different tissues. For example, SCN10A is mostly found in the nerve cells involved in transmitting pain signals.

Human Sodium Channel Protein Family Members
SCN10A SCN11A SCN1A SCN1B SCN2A
SCN2B SCN3A SCN3B SCN4A SCN4B
SCN5A SCN7A SCN8A SCN9A  

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