Unwinding and spiral sliding of S4 and domain rotation of VSD during the electromechanical coupling in Nav1.7

Gaoxingyu Huang, Qiurong Wu, Zhangqiang Li, Xueqin Jin, Xiaoshuang Huang, Tong Wu, Xiaojing Pan, Nieng Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channel Nav1.7 has been targeted for the development of nonaddictive pain killers. Structures of Nav1.7 in distinct functional states will offer an advanced mechanistic understanding and aid drug discovery. Here we report the cryoelectron microscopy analysis of a human Nav1.7 variant that, with 11 rationally introduced point mutations, has a markedly right-shifted activation voltage curve with V1/2 reaching 69 mV. The voltage-sensing domain in the first repeat (VSDI) in a 2.7-Å resolution structure displays a completely down (deactivated) conformation. Compared to the structure of WT Nav1.7, three gating charge (GC) residues in VSDI are transferred to the cytosolic side through a combination of helix unwinding and spiral sliding of S4I and ∼20° domain rotation. A conserved WNAAD motif on the cytoplasmic end of S3I stabilizes the down conformation of VSDI. One GC residue is transferred in VSDII mainly through helix sliding. Accompanying GC transfer in VSDI and VSDII, rearrangement and contraction of the intracellular gate is achieved through concerted movements of adjacent segments, including S4-5I, S4-5II, S5II, and all S6 segments. Our studies provide important insight into the electromechanical coupling mechanism of the single-chain voltage-gated ion channels and afford molecular interpretations for a number of pain-associated mutations whose pathogenic mechanism cannot be revealed from previously reported Nav structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2209164119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number33
StatePublished - Aug 16 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Nav1.7
  • cryo-EM structure
  • electromechanical coupling
  • pain
  • resting VSD


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