Chondroitin sulfates act as extracellular gating modifiers on voltage-dependent ion channels

Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry : International Journal of Experimental Cellular Physiology, Biochemistry, and Pharmacology
Davide VigettiAndrea Moriondo


Chondroitin sulfates are glycosaminoglycans bound to core proteins of proteoglycans in the extracellular matrix and perineuronal nets surrounding many types of neurones. Chondroitin 4- and chondroitin 6- sulfate can bind calcium ions with different affinities, depending on their sulfation position. Extracellular calcium plays a key role in determining the transmembrane potential sensed by voltage-operated ion channels (VOCs) by means of the "surface screening effect" theory (Gouy-Chapman-Stern theory). We wanted to test whether chondroitin sulfates at physiological concentration can effectively modulate the gating properties of VOCs. We recorded in patch-clamp experiments the shift of h and voltage-dependent calcium currents activation curves of Xenopus laevis photoreceptors perfused with chondroitin sulfate solutions in physiological extracellular calcium concentration. We found that chondroitin 4- and 6- sulfate, with different capabilities, can shift the activation curve of h and voltage-dependent calcium channels, compatibly with the surface screening effect theory. We conclude that chondroitin sulfates can alter VOCs gating by modulating the calcium concentration in the extracellular microenvironment. This phenomenon may e...Continue Reading


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