Atomic force microscopy imaging reveals the formation of ASIC/ENaC cross-clade ion channels

12 Sep 2017

ASIC and ENaC are co-expressed in various cell types, and there is evidence for a close association between them. Here, we used atomic force microscopy (AFM) to determine whether ASIC1a and ENaC subunits are able to form cross-clade hybrid ion channels. ASIC1a and ENaC could be co-isolated from detergent extracts of tsA 201 cells co-expressing the two subunits. Isolated proteins were incubated with antibodies against ENaC and Fab fragments against ASIC1a. AFM imaging revealed proteins that were decorated by both an antibody and a Fab fragment with an angle of ∼120° between them, indicating the formation of ASIC1a/ENaC heterotrimers.