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Science 300 (5628): 2091-2094

Copyright © 2003 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

A Targeting Motif Involved in Sodium Channel Clustering at the Axonal Initial Segment

Juan José Garrido, Pierre Giraud, Edmond Carlier, Fanny Fernandes, Anissa Moussif, Marie-Pierre Fache, Dominique Debanne, Bénédicte Dargent*

Abstract: The sorting of sodium channels to axons and the formation of clusters are of primary importance for neuronal electrogenesis. Here, we showed that the cytoplasmic loop connecting domains II and III of the Nav1 subunit contains a determinant conferring compartmentalization in the axonal initial segment of rat hippocampal neurons. Expression of a soluble Nav1.2II-III linker protein led to the disorganization of endogenous sodium channels. The motif was sufficient to redirect a somatodendritic potassium channel to the axonal initial segment, a process involving association with ankyrin G. Thus, this motif may play a fundamental role in controlling electrical excitability during development and plasticity.

Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale Unité 464, Institut Jean Roche, Université de la Méditerranée, Faculté de Médecine Secteur-Nord, Boulevard P. Dramard, 13916 Marseille Cedex 20, France.

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Note added in proof: During revision of this report, Lemaillet et al. (31) identified a conserved ankyrin-binding motif located within the AIS motif.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: dargent.b{at}

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