Neuronal voltage-gated K+ channels function in macromolecular protein complexes

Norris AJ, Foeger NC, Nerbonne JM (2010). Neuroscience Letters, 486(2):73-77 Read More


Considerable evidence indicates that native neuronal voltage-gated K+ (Kv) currents reflect the functioning of macromolecular Kv channel complexes, composed of pore-forming (α)-subunits, cytosolic and transmembrane accessory subunits, together with regulatory and scaffolding proteins. The individual components of these macromolecular complexes appear to influence the stability, the trafficking, the localization and/or the biophysical properties of the channels. Recent studies suggest that Kv channel accessory subunits subserve multiple roles in the generation of native neuronal Kv channels. Additional recent findings suggest that Kv channel accessory subunits can respond to changes in intracellular Ca(2+) or metabolism and thereby integrate signaling pathways to regulate Kv channel expression and properties. Although studies in heterologous cells have provided important insights into the effects of accessory subunits on Kv channel expression/properties, it has become increasingly clear that experiments in neurons are required to define the physiological roles of Kv channel accessory and associated proteins. A number of technological and experimental hurdles remain that must be overcome in the design, execution and interpretation of experiments aimed at detailing the functional roles of accessory subunits and associated proteins in the generation of native neuronal Kv channels. With the increasing association of altered Kv channel functioning with neurological disorders, the potential impact of these efforts is clear.

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Posted on October 13, 2010
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