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Neuroscientist. 2006 Jun;12(3):199-210.

Voltage-gated potassium channels: regulation by accessory subunits.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.


Voltage-gated potassium channels regulate cell membrane potential and excitability in neurons and other cell types. A precise control of neuronal action potential patterns underlies the basic functioning of the central and peripheral nervous system. This control relies on the adaptability of potassium channel activities. The functional diversity of potassium currents, however, far exceeds the considerable molecular diversity of this class of genes. Potassium current diversity contributes to the specificity of neuronal firing patterns and may be achieved by regulated transcription, RNA splicing, and posttranslational modifications. Another mechanism for regulation of potassium channel activity is through association with interacting proteins and accessory subunits. Here the authors highlight recent work that addresses this growing area of exploration and discuss areas of future investigation.

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