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Papers: 29 Oct 2022 - 4 Nov 2022

2022 Oct 31

J Physiol

The diverse functions of the DEG/ENaC family: linking genetic and physiological insights.


Kaulich E, Grundy LJ, Schafer WR, Walker DS
J Physiol. 2022 Oct 31.
PMID: 36314992.


The DEG/ENaC family of ion channels was defined based on the sequence similarity between degenerins (DEG) from the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and subunits of the mammalian epithelial sodium channel (ENaC), and also includes a diverse array of non-voltage-gated cation channels from across animal phyla, including the mammalian acid-sensing ion channels (ASICs) and Drosophila pickpockets. ENaCs and ASICs have wide ranging medical importance, for example, ENaCs play an important role in respiratory and renal function, and ASICs in ischemia and inflammatory pain, as well as being implicated in memory and learning. Electrophysiological approaches, both in vitro and in vivo, have played an essential role in establishing the physiological properties of this diverse family, identifying an array of modulators and implicating them in an extensive range of cellular functions, including mechanosensation, acid sensation and synaptic modulation. Likewise, genetic studies in both invertebrates and vertebrates have played an important role in linking our understanding of channel properties to function at the cellular and whole animal/behavioural level. Drawing together genetic and physiological evidence is essential to furthering our understanding of the precise cellular roles of DEG/ENaC channels, with the diversity among family members allowing comparative physiological studies to dissect the molecular basis of these diverse functions. Abstract figure legend Schematic illustrating the diverse modulators and stimuli that influence DEG/ENaC function (blue arrows) and the diverse range of functions in which they have been implicated (green arrows), in an array of animals, exemplified by those depicted. Created with Biorender.com. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.