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Bioessays. 1997 Oct;19(10):847-53.

Ion channel targeting in neurons.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA.


Electrical signaling by neurons depends on the precisely ordered distribution of a wide variety of ion channels on the neuronal surface. The mechanisms underlying the targeting of particular classes of ion channels to specific subcellular sites are poorly understood. Recent studies have identified a new class of protein-protein interaction mediated by PDZ domains, protein binding modules that recognize specific sequences at the C terminus of membrane proteins. The PDZ domains of a family of synaptic cytoskeleton-associated proteins, typified by PSD-95, bind to the intracellular C-terminal tails of NMDA receptors and Shaker-type K+ channels. This interaction appears to be important in the clustering and localization of these ion channels at synaptic sites. Recognition of specific C-terminal peptide sequences by different PDZ domain-containing proteins may be a general mechanism for differential targeting of proteins to a variety of subcellular locations.

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