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Voltage-gated sodium channels are large transmembrane proteins that selectively allow the passage of sodium ions across the cell membrane in response to membrane depolarizations (Yu and Catterall, 2003). The resulting influx of positive charge further depolarizes the membrane and is responsible for the upstroke of the action potential. Voltage-gated sodium channels are vital to the initiation and propagation of action potentials in excitable cells such as neurons and myocytes. In vertebrates, there are many different tissue-specific sodium channel isoforms; these include the neuronal (Nav1.2) and cardiac (Nav1.5) isoforms. Although very closely related in structure and functional characteristics, the different channel types have unique functional properties well suited to the physiological functions of their respective tissues.

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Biology Commons


Faculty Mentor

Peter C. Ruben

Departmental Honors Advisor

Kimberly A. Sullivan