Post-translational modifications of the cardiac Na channel: Contribution of CaMKII-dependent phosphorylation to acquired arrhythmias

Anthony W. Herren, Donald M Bers, Eleonora Grandi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


The voltage-gated Na channel isoform 1.5 (Nav1.5) is the pore forming α-subunit of the voltage-gated cardiac Na channel, which is responsible for the initiation and propagation of cardiac action potentials. Mutations in the SCN5A gene encoding Nav1.5 have been linked to changes in the Na current leading to a variety of arrhythmogenic phenotypes, and alterations in the Nav1.5 expression level, Na current density, and/or gating have been observed in acquired cardiac disorders, including heart failure. The precise mechanisms underlying these abnormalities have not been fully elucidated. However, several recent studies have made it clear that Nav1.5 forms a macromolecular complex with a number of proteins that modulate its expression levels, localization, and gating and is the target of extensive post-translational modifications, which may also influence all these properties. We review here the molecular aspects of cardiac Na channel regulation and their functional consequences. In particular, we focus on the molecular and functional aspects of Na channel phosphorylation by the Ca/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II, which is hyperactive in heart failure and has been causally linked to cardiac arrhythmia. Understanding the mechanisms of altered Nav1.5 expression and function is crucial for gaining insight into arrhythmogenesis and developing novel therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 8 2013


  • Arrhythmia
  • CaMKII
  • Heart failure
  • Na channel
  • Phosphorylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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