Molecular pharmacology of the sodium channel of mammalian brain

  • W. A. Catterall
  • D. J. Messner
  • R. P. Hartshorne
  • D. J. Feller
  • J. A. Talvenheimo
  • B. Keller
  • M. Montal


The ionic mechanisms underlying electrical excitability in nerve and other excitable tissues have been defined by use of the voltage clamp method (Hodgkin & Huxley, 1952). In this approach the voltage across the excitable membrane is controlled with a feedback amplifier circuit and the ionic currents moving across the membrane in response to step changes in the membrane potential imposed by the experimenter are measured. Experiments with the voltage clamp technique have shown that the initial rapid depolarization during an action potential in nerve axons and most other excitable tissues results from rapid voltage-dependent increases in membrane permeability to sodium ions (Hodgkin & Huxley, 1952; Hille, 1976). Many different lines of evidence indicate that a selective transmembrane sodium channel is responsible for the rapid sodium permeability increase during the action potential. Selective ion permeation is mediated by a hydrophilic pore containing a sodium-selective ion coordination site designated the ion selectivity filter (Hille, 1972).


Sodium Channel Phospholipid Vesicle Molecular Pharmacology Scorpion Venom Scorpion Toxin 
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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Limited 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. A. Catterall
    • 1
  • D. J. Messner
    • 1
  • R. P. Hartshorne
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. J. Feller
    • 1
  • J. A. Talvenheimo
    • 1
  • B. Keller
    • 2
  • M. Montal
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Physics and BiologyUniversity of California at San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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