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Highly Accessed Review

Overview of the voltage-gated sodium channel family

Frank H Yu and William A Catterall*

Author Affiliations

Department of Pharmacology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-7280, USA

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Genome Biology 2003, 4:207  doi:10.1186/gb-2003-4-3-207

Published: 24 February 2003

Abstract

Selective permeation of sodium ions through voltage-dependent sodium channels is fundamental to the generation of action potentials in excitable cells such as neurons. These channels are large integral membrane proteins and are encoded by at least ten genes in mammals. The different sodium channels have remarkably similar functional properties, but small changes in sodium-channel function are biologically relevant, as underscored by mutations that cause several human diseases of hyperexcitability.