Potassium channels


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Potassium channels are fundamental regulators of excitability. They control the frequency and the shape of action potential waveform, the secretion of hormones and neurotransmitters and cell membrane potential. Their activity may be regulated by voltage, calcium and neurotransmitters (and the signalling pathways they stimulate). They consist of a primary pore-forming a subunit often associated with auxiliary regulatory subunits. Since there are over 70 different genes encoding K channels α subunits in the human genome, it is beyond the scope of this guide to treat each subunit individually. Instead, channels have been grouped into families and subfamilies based on their structural and functional properties. The three main families are the 2TM (two transmembrane domain), 4TM and 6TM families. A standardised nomenclature for potassium channels has been proposed by the NC-IUPHAR subcommittees on potassium channels [1-4].

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NC-IUPHAR subcommittee and family contributors

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How to cite this family page

Database page citation:

Richard Aldrich, Bernard Attali, K. George Chandy, Steve A.N. Goldstein, Stephan Grissmer, Lily Y. Jan, Leonard K. Kaczmarek, Jeanne Nerbonne, Colin G. Nichols, Lawrence G. Palmer, Leigh D Plant, Henry Sackin, Michael C. Sanguinetti, Paul A. Slesinger, James S. Trimmer, Stephen Tucker, Aguan D. Wei, Heike Wulff. Potassium channels. Accessed on 09/10/2015. IUPHAR/BPS Guide to PHARMACOLOGY, http://www.guidetopharmacology.org/GRAC/FamilyDisplayForward?familyId=133.

Concise Guide to PHARMACOLOGY citation:

Alexander SPH, Benson HE, Faccenda E, Pawson AJ, Sharman JL, Catterall WA, Spedding M, Peters JA and Harmar AJ, CGTP Collaborators. (2013) The Concise Guide to PHARMACOLOGY 2013/14: Ion Channels. Br J Pharmacol. 170: 1607–1651.