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Papers of the Week

Papers: 18 Mar 2023 - 24 Mar 2023

Basic Science

In Silico Studies, In Vitro Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Pharmacology/Drug Development


2023 Mar 21

J Biol Chem


The intramembrane COOH-terminal domain of PRRT2 regulates voltage-dependent Na channels.


Franchi F, Marte A, Corradi B, Sterlini B, Alberini G, Romei A, De Fusco A, Vogel A, Maragliano L, Baldelli P, Corradi A, Valente P, Benfenati F


Proline-rich transmembrane protein 2 (PRRT2) is the single causative gene for pleiotropic paroxysmal syndromes including epilepsy, kinesigenic dyskinesia, episodic ataxia and migraine. PRRT2 is a neuron-specific type-2 membrane protein with a COOH-terminal intramembrane domain and a long proline-rich NH-terminal cytoplasmic region. A large array of experimental data indicates that PRRT2 is a neuron stability gene that negatively controls intrinsic excitability by regulating surface membrane localization and biophysical properties of voltage-dependent Na channels Nav1.2 and Nav1.6, but not Nav1.1. To further investigate the regulatory role of PRRT2, we studied the structural features of this membrane protein with molecular dynamics simulations, and its structure-function relationships with Nav1.2 channels by biochemical and electrophysiological techniques. We found that the intramembrane COOH-terminal region maintains a stable conformation over time, with the first transmembrane domain forming a helix-loop-helix motif within the bilayer. The unstructured NH-terminal cytoplasmic region bound to the Nav1.2 better than the isolated COOH-terminal intramembrane domain, mimicking full-length PRRT2, while the COOH-terminal intramembrane domain was able to modulate Na current and channel biophysical properties, still maintaining the striking specificity for Nav1.2 vs Nav1.1. channels. The results identify PRRT2 as a dual-domain protein in which the NH-terminal cytoplasmic region acts as a binding antenna for Na channels, while the COOH-terminal membrane domain regulates channel exposure on the membrane and its biophysical properties.