Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry

Solution NMR analysis of the binding mechanism of DIVS6 model peptides of voltage-gated sodium channels and the lipid soluble alkaloid veratridine.

PMID 22483840


Voltage-gated sodium channels (VGSCs) are responsible for generating action potentials in nervous systems. Veratridine (VTD), a lipid soluble alkaloid isolated from sabadilla lily seed, is believed to bind to segment 6 of VGSCs and act as a partial agonist. However, high resolution structural interaction mechanism between VGSCs and VTD is difficult to elucidate because of the large size and membrane localization of VGSCs. Here, the authors designed model peptides corresponding to domain IV segment 6 (DIVS6) of rat skeletal muscle Na(v)1.4 and analyzed the complex of the model peptides and VTD by solution NMR analysis to obtain structural information of the interaction. The model peptides successfully formed an α-helices, which is the suspected native conformation of DIVS6, in aqueous 2,2,2-trifluoroethanol, a membrane-mimicking solvent. The VTD binding residues of the model peptide were identified using the NMR titration experiments with VTD, including a newly discovered VTD binding residue Leu14 (μ1-L1580 in Na(v)1.4), which has not been reported by point mutation studies. Mapping of VTD binding residues on the model peptide revealed the hydrophobic interaction surface. NMR titration experiments with a non-toxic analog of VTD, veracevine, also indicated that the steroidal backbone of VTD interacts with the hydrophobic interaction surface of DIVS6 and that the 3-acyl group of VTD possibly causes neurotoxicity by interacting with domain I segment 6 and/or domain IV segment 4.