Pharmacologically targeting the fibroblast growth factor 14 interaction site on the voltage-gated na+ channel 1.6 enables isoform-selective modulation

Nolan M. Dvorak, Cynthia Tapia, Aditya K. Singh, Timothy J. Baumgartner, Pingyuan Wang, Haiying Chen, Paul A. Wadsworth, Jia Zhou, Fernanda Laezza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Voltage-gated Na+ (Nav) channels are the primary molecular determinant of the action potential. Among the nine isoforms of the Nav channel α subunit that have been described (Nav1.1Nav1.9), Nav1.1, Nav1.2, and Nav1.6 are the primary isoforms expressed in the central nervous system (CNS). Crucially, these three CNS Nav channel isoforms display differential expression across neuronal cell types and diverge with respect to their subcellular distributions. Considering these differences in terms of their localization, the CNS Nav channel isoforms could represent promising targets for the development of targeted neuromodulators. However, current therapeutics that target Nav channels lack selectivity, which results in deleterious side effects due to modulation of off-target Nav channel isoforms. Among the structural components of the Nav channel α subunit that could be pharmacologically targeted to achieve isoform selectivity, the C-terminal domains (CTD) of Nav channels represent promising candidates on account of displaying appreciable amino acid sequence divergence that enables functionally unique protein–protein interactions (PPIs) with Nav channel auxiliary proteins. In medium spiny neurons (MSNs) of the nucleus accumbens (NAc), a critical brain region of the mesocorticolimbic circuit, the PPI between the CTD of the Nav1.6 channel and its auxiliary protein fibroblast growth factor 14 (FGF14) is central to the generation of electrical outputs, underscoring its potential value as a site for targeted neuromodulation. Focusing on this PPI, we previously developed a peptidomimetic derived from residues of FGF14 that have an interaction site on the CTD of the Nav1.6 channel. In this work, we show that whereas the compound displays dose-dependent effects on the activity of Nav1.6 channels in heterologous cells, the compound does not affect Nav1.1 or Nav1.2 channels at comparable concentrations. In addition, we show that the compound correspondingly modulates the action potential discharge and the transient Na+ of MSNs of the NAc. Overall, these results demonstrate that pharmacologically targeting the FGF14 interaction site on the CTD of the Nav1.6 channel is a strategy to achieve isoform-selective modulation, and, more broadly, that sites on the CTDs of Nav channels interacted with by auxiliary proteins could represent candidates for the development of targeted therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13541
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021


  • Fibroblast growth factor 14 (FGF14)
  • Medium spiny neurons (MSNs)
  • Neurotherapeutics
  • Nucleus accumbens (NAc)
  • Peptidomimetics
  • Protein–protein interactions (PPIs)
  • Voltage-gated Na (Na) channels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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