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Neuroscientist. 2014 Apr;20(2):104-11. doi: 10.1177/1073858413504003. Epub 2013 Oct 8.

IA channels: diverse regulatory mechanisms.

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1Department of Developmental Biology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, USA.


In many peripheral and central neurons, A-type K(+) currents, IA, have been identified and shown to be key determinants in shaping action potential waveforms and repetitive firing properties, as well as in the regulation of synaptic transmission and synaptic plasticity. The functional properties and physiological roles of native neuronal IA, however, have been shown to be quite diverse in different types of neurons. Accumulating evidence suggests that this functional diversity is generated by multiple mechanisms, including the expression and subcellular distributions of IA channels encoded by different voltage-gated K(+) (Kv) channel pore-forming (α) subunits, interactions of Kv α subunits with cytosolic and/or transmembrane accessory subunits and regulatory proteins and post-translational modifications of channel subunits. Several recent reports further suggest that local protein translation in the dendrites of neurons and interactions between IA channels with other types of voltage-gated ion channels further expands the functional diversity of native neuronal IA channels. Here, we review the diverse molecular mechanisms that have been shown or proposed to underlie the functional diversity of native neuronal IA channels.


Kv channel accessory subunits; Kv1 channels; Kv12 channels; Kv4 channels; posttranslational regulation of Kv channels

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