Previous studies have shown that sodium channel α-subunit NaN is preferentially expressed in small-diameter sensory neurons of dorsal root ganglia and trigeminal ganglia. These neurons include high-threshold nociceptors that are involved in transduction of pain associated with tissue and nerve injury. In this study, we show that mouse NaN is a 1765-amino-acid peptide that is predicted to produce a current that is resistant to tetrodotoxin (TTX-R). Mouse and rat NaN are 80 and 89% identical at the nucleotide and amino acid levels, respectively. The Scn11a gene encoding this cDNA is organized into 24 exons. Unlike some α-subunits, Scn11a does not have an alternative exon 5 in domain I. Introns of the U2 and U12 spliceosome types are present at conserved positions relative to other members of this family. Scn11a is located on mouse chromosome 9, close to the two other TTX-R sodium channel genes, Scn5a and Scn10a. The human gene, SCN11A, was mapped to the conserved linkage group on chromosome 3p21-p24, close to human SCN5A and SCN10A. The colocalization of the three sodium channel genes supports a common lineage of the TTX-R sodium channels.
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