The adhesion function of the sodium channel beta subunit (beta 1) contributes to cardiac action potential propagation


Computational modeling indicates that cardiac conduction may involve ephaptic coupling - intercellular communication involving electrochemical signaling across narrow extracellular clefts between cardiomyocytes. We hypothesized that beta 1(SCN1B) - mediated adhesion scaffolds trans-activating Na(V)1.5 (SCN5A) channels within narrow (<30 nm) perinexal clefts adjacent to gap junctions (GJs), facilitating ephaptic coupling. Super-resolution imaging indicated preferential beta 1 localization at the perinexus, where it co-locates with Na(V)1.5. Smart patch clamp (SPC) indicated greater sodium current density (I-Na) at perinexi, relative to non-junctional sites. A novel, rationally designed peptide, beta adp1, potently and selectively inhibited beta 1-mediated adhesion, in electric cell-substrate impedance sensing studies. beta adp1 significantly widened perinexi in guinea pig ventricles, and selectively reduced perinexal I-Na, but not whole cell I-Na, in myocyte monolayers. In optical mapping studies, beta adp1 precipitated arrhythmogenic conduction slowing. In summary, beta 1-mediated adhesion at the perinexus facilitates action potential propagation between cardiomyocytes, and may represent a novel target for anti-arrhythmic therapies.

endothelial barrier function, intercalated disc, gap-junctions, myocardial-cells, fluorescence microscopy, ventricular myocytes, atrial-fibrillation, brugada syndrome, alpha-subunits, amino-acids