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Cell. 1998 May 29;93(5):717-29.

Identification of a gene encoding a hyperpolarization-activated pacemaker channel of brain.

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  • 1Center for Neurobiology and Behavior, Columbia University, New York, New York 10032, USA.


The generation of pacemaker activity in heart and brain is mediated by hyperpolarization-activated cation channels that are directly regulated by cyclic nucleotides. We previously cloned a novel member of the voltage-gated K channel family from mouse brain (mBCNG-1) that contained a carboxy-terminal cyclic nucleotide-binding domain (Santoro et al., 1997) and hence proposed it to be a candidate gene for pacemaker channels. Heterologous expression of mBCNG-1 demonstrates that it does indeed code for a channel with properties indistinguishable from pacemaker channels in brain and similar to those in heart. Three additional mouse genes and two human genes closely related to mBCNG-1 display unique patterns of mRNA expression in different tissues, including brain and heart, demonstrating that these channels constitute a widely expressed gene family.

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