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Review

An overview of the potassium channel family

Christopher Miller

Author Affiliations

HHMI and Department of Biochemistry, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02454, USA

Genome Biology 2000, 1:reviews0004-reviews0004.5  doi:10.1186/gb-2000-1-4-reviews0004

Published: 13 October 2000

Abstract

Potassium channels, tetrameric integral membrane proteins that form aqueous pores through which K+ can flow, are found in virtually all organisms; the genomes of humans, Drosophila, and Caenorhabditis elegans contain 30-100 K+ channel genes each. The structure of a bacterial K+ channel, sequence comparisons with other channels and electrophysiological measurements have enabled conclusions about the mechanism of gating and ion flow to be drawn for many other channels.