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Papers of the Week

Papers: 22 Jun 2019 - 28 Jun 2019

2019 Aug-Dec

Neurobiol Pain


Fibroblast growth factor homologous factor 2 (FGF-13) associates with Nav1.7 in DRG neurons and alters its current properties in an isoform-dependent manner.


Effraim PR, Huang J, Lampert A, Stamboulian S, Zhao P, Black JA, Dib-Hajj SD, Waxman SG
Neurobiol Pain. 2019 Aug-Dec; 6:100029.
PMID: 31223136.


Fibroblast Growth Factor Homologous Factors (FHF) constitute a subfamily of FGF proteins with four prototypes (FHF1-4; also known as FGF11-14). FHF proteins have been shown to bind directly to the membrane-proximal segment of the C-terminus in voltage-gated sodium channels (Nav), and regulate current density, availability, and frequency-dependent inhibition of sodium currents. Members of the FHF2 subfamily, FHF2A and FHF2B, differ in the length and sequence of their N-termini, and, importantly, differentially regulate Nav1.6 gating properties. Using immunohistochemistry, we show that FHF2 isoforms are expressed in adult dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons where they co-localize with Nav1.6 and Nav1.7. FHF2A and FHF2B show differential localization in neuronal compartments in DRG neurons, and levels of expression of FHF2 factors are down-regulated following sciatic nerve axotomy. Because Nav1.7 in nociceptors plays a critical role in pain, we reasoned that its interaction with FHF2 isoforms might regulate its current properties. Using whole-cell patch clamp in heterologous expression systems, we show that the expression of FHF2A in HEK293 cell line stably expressing Nav1.7 channels causes no change in activation, whereas FHF2B depolarizes activation. Both FHF2 isoforms depolarize fast-inactivation. Additionally, FHF2A causes an accumulation of inactivated channels at all frequencies tested due to a slowing of recovery from inactivation, whereas FHF2B has little effect on these properties of Nav1.7. Measurements of the Nav1.7 current in DRG neurons in which FHF2 levels are knocked down confirmed the effects of FHF2A on repriming, and FHF2B on activation, however FHF2A and B did not have an effect on fast inactivation. Our data demonstrates that FHF2 does indeed regulate the current properties of Nav1.7 and does so in an isoform and cell-specific manner.