Voltage-gated Na+ channels initiate action potentials in neurons and other excitable cells, and they are responsible for propagation of action potentials along nerves, muscle fibers, and the neuronal somatodendritic compartment.1 They are complexes of a large pore-forming α subunit and smaller auxiliary β subunits.2,3 Multiple genes encode Na+ channel subunits, and the distinct Na+ channel subtypes have subtle differences in functional properties, differential expression in excitable cells, and differential distribution in subcellular compartments.2,4 These differences in function and localization contribute to the specialized functional roles of Na+ channels in neuronal physiology and pharmacology.
Chapter. 8695 words. Illustrated.
Full text: subscription required