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Frank Bosmans

Link to Lab Homepage
Department AffiliationPrimary: Physiology
Secondary: Neuroscience
RankAssistant Professor
Mailing Address725 N. Wolfe Street
206 Biophysics
Baltimore, MD 21205
Frank Bosmans Photo

Molecular organization and pharmacological properties of the voltage-gated sodium channel signaling complex

Voltage-activated sodium (Nav) channels are found throughout the human body where they form the cornerstones of fast electrical signaling by regulating the Na+ permeability of the cell membrane. As such, Nav channels are among the most widely targeted ion channels by both drugs and animal toxins. Their medical relevance is underscored by mutations that underlie debilitating disorders such as epilepsy, muscle weakness, cardiac arrhythmias and pain syndromes. Despite their physiological importance, our understanding of these channels is hampered by a lack of insight into their complex structures and working mechanisms. Rather than existing as independent units, Nav channels are part of a signaling complex that involves auxiliary proteins and membrane lipids. Our goal is to address fundamental questions on the identities of the Nav channel signaling complex components and to resolve their mechanisms of action at the molecular level. To this end, we combine several techniques including molecular biology, electrophysiology, genetics, and biochemistry. Successful completion of these goals will reveal key elements in the Nav channel signaling complex, help define Nav channel function in normal and pathological states, and may offer novel strategies for developing therapeutic drugs.

Kalia J, Milescu M, Salvatierra J, Wagner J, Klint JK, King GF, Olivera BM, Bosmans F. From foe to friend: Using animal toxins to investigate ion channel function. J Mol Biol. 2014 PubMed Reference

Bende NS, Dziemborowicz S, Mobli M, Herzig V, Gilchrist J, Wagner J, Nicholson GM, King GF, Bosmans F.  A distinct sodium channel voltage-sensor locus determines insect selectivity of the spider toxin Dc1a. Nat Commun. 2014 PubMed Reference

Gilchrist J, Olivera BM, Bosmans F. Animal toxins influence voltage-gated sodium channel function. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2014 PubMed Reference

Gilchrist J, Dutton S, Diaz-Bustamante M, McPherson A, Olivares N, Kalia J, Escayg A, Bosmans F. Nav1.1 modulation by a novel triazole compound attenuates epileptic seizures in rodents. ACS Chem Biol. 2014 PubMed Reference

Gilchrist J, Das S, Van Petegemb F, and Bosmans F a,d,2. Crystallographic insights into sodium-channel odulation by the β4 subunit. PNAS 10(1073): 1314557110, July 2013. PubMed Reference

Bosmans F. New rule(r)s for FRET. Biophys J. 2013 PubMed Reference


Bosmans F and Gilchrist J. Animal Toxins Can Alter the Function of Nav1.8 and Nav1.9. Toxins 2012. 4, 620-632; doi:10.3390/toxins4080620. PubMed Reference

Bosmans F, Puopolo M, Martin-Eauclaire M-F, Bean BP and Swartz KJ. Functional properties and toxin pharmacology of a dorsal root ganglion sodium channel viewed through its voltage sensors. PubMed Reference

Journal of General Physiology 138(1):59-72, 2011.PubMed Reference

Bosmans F, Milescu M and Swartz KJ. Palmitoylation influences the function and pharmacology of sodium channels. PNAS 108(50): 20213-20218, 2011.PubMed Reference

Bosmans F and Swartz KJ. Targeting voltage sensors in sodium channels with spider toxins. Trends in Pharmacological Sciences 31(4) 175:182, 2010.PubMed Reference

Milescu M, Bosmans F, Lee S, Alabi AA, Swartz JIK and JK. Interactions between lipids and voltage sensor paddles detected with tarantula toxins. Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 16(10):1080-1086, October 2009.PubMed Reference

Bosmans F, Martin-Eauclaire M-F and Swartz KJ. Deconstructing voltage sensor function and pharmacology in sodium channels. Nature 456(7219):202-208 November 13, 2008.PubMed Reference 

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