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Book Chapter

Sodium Channel Specific Neurotoxins: Recent Advances in the Understanding of Their Molecular Mechanisms

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Becker,  Stefan
Department of Molecular Membrane Biology, Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Max Planck Society;

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Gordon,  Robert D.
Department of Molecular Membrane Biology, Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Becker, S., & Gordon, R. D. (1992). Sodium Channel Specific Neurotoxins: Recent Advances in the Understanding of Their Molecular Mechanisms. In H. Herken, & F. Hucho (Eds.), Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology (pp. 719-737). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0008-5646-9
Abstract
The voltage-dependent sodium channel is a large transmembrane glycoprotein that mediates the sodium current during the action potential, a characteristic property of excitable cells (Hodgkin and Huxley 1952). A number of small molecules (<8 kDa) of diverse structure have quite specific effects on the physiological properties of the sodium channel by directly binding to the protein. These toxins, which have been extensively used for the molecular characterization of the sodium channel, include (a) those that inhibit ion transport, e.g., tetrodotoxin (TTX), (b) lipid-soluble activators of the sodium channel, e.g., batrachotoxin (BTX), (c) the North African α- scorpion toxins, e.g., Leiurus quinquestriatus toxin, (d) the American (β- scorpion toxins, e.g., Tityus toxin, (e) ciguatoxin and brevetoxin (see Table1 and Fig. 1).