Modulation of a voltage-gated Na+ channel by sevoflurane involves multiple sites and distinct mechanisms

Annika F. Barber, Vincenzo Carnevale, Michael L. Klein, Roderic G. Eckenhoff, Manuel Covarrubias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Halogenated inhaled general anesthetic agents modulate voltagegated ion channels, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are not understood. Many general anesthetic agents regulate voltagegated Na+ (NaV) channels, including the commonly used drug sevoflurane. Here, we investigated the putative binding sites and molecular mechanisms of sevoflurane action on the bacterial NaV channel NaChBac by using a combination of molecular dynamics simulation, electrophysiology, and kinetic analysis. Structural modeling revealed multiple sevoflurane interaction sites possibly associated with NaChBac modulation. Electrophysiologically, sevoflurane favors activation and inactivation at low concentrations (0.2 mM), and additionally accelerates current decay at high concentrations (2 mM). Explaining these observations, kinetic modeling suggests concurrent destabilization of closed states and low-affinity open channel block. We propose that the multiple effects of sevoflurane on NaChBac result from simultaneous interactions at multiple sites with distinct affinities. This multiple-site, multiple-mode hypothesis offers a framework to study the structural basis of general anesthetic action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6726-6731
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 6 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Anesthesia
  • Anesthetics
  • MD simulations
  • Membrane proteins


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