Biochemical Journal

Research article

Interaction of the synaptic protein PICK1 (protein interacting with C kinase 1) with the non-voltage gated sodium channels BNC1 (brain Na+ channel 1) and ASIC (acid-sensing ion channel)

Alesia M. HRUSKA-HAGEMAN, John A. WEMMIE, Margaret P. PRICE, Michael J. WELSH


Neuronal members of the degenerin/epithelial Na+ channel (DEG/ENaC) family of cation channels include the mammalian brain Na+ channel 1 (BNC1), acid-sensing ion channel (ASIC) and dorsal-root acid-sensing ion channel (DRASIC). Their response to acidic pH, their sequence similarity to nematode proteins involved in mechanotransduction and their modulation by neuropeptides suggest that they may function as receptors for a number of different stimuli. Using the yeast two-hybrid assay, we found that the PDZ domain-containing protein PICK1 (protein interacting with C kinase) interacts specifically with the C-termini of BNC1 and ASIC, but not DRASIC or the related αENaC or βENaC. In both the yeast two-hybrid system and mammalian cells, deletion of the BNC1 and ASIC C-termini abolished the interaction with PICK1. Likewise, mutating the PDZ domain in PICK1 abolished its interaction with BNC1 and ASIC. In addition, in a heterologous expression system PICK1 altered the distribution of BNC1 channels; this effect was dependent on the PDZ domain of PICK1 and the C-terminus of BNC1. We found crude synaptosomal fractions of brain to be enriched in ASIC, suggesting a possible synaptic localization. Moreover, in transfected hippocampal neurons ASIC co-localized with PICK1 in a punctate pattern at synapses. These data suggest that PICK1 binds ASIC and BNC1 via its PDZ domain. This interaction may be important for the localization and/or function of these channels in both the central and peripheral nervous systems.

  • DEG/ENaC channel
  • mechanosensation
  • mechanotransduction
  • nociception
  • PDZ domain


  • Abbreviations used: BNC1, brain Na+ channel 1; ASIC, acid-sensing ion channel; DRASIC, dorsal-root acid-sensing ion channel; DEG/ENaC, degenerin/epithelial Na+ channel; PICK1, protein interacting with C kinase 1; MEC, mechanosensory; AMPA, α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-isoxazole-4-proprionic acid; mGluR7a, metabotropic glutamate receptor 7a; CSF, crude synaptosomal fraction; GluR2/3, glutamate receptor 2/3; PKC, protein kinase C; AD, activation domain; DB, DNA-binding domain; FLAG, Asp-Tyr-Lys-Asp-Asp-Asp-Asp-Lys; h, human.