Potassium Channel

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Structure of the Potassium Channel complex with K+ ions, (2r9r)


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This article was developed based on lectures given in Chemistry 543 by Prof. Clarence E. Schutt at Princeton University.

Potassium channels (KCh) are subdivided into voltage-gated KCh and calcium-dependent KCh. The latter are subdivided into high- (BK, LKCa), intermediate- and small-conductance KCh (human SK1, rat SK2, SKCa). The T1 domain is a highly conserved N-terminal domain which is responsible for driving the tetramerization of the KCh α subunit. The inward rectifier KCh (IRK) passes current more easily in the inward direction. MthK is a calcium-dependent KCh from Methanobacterium thermoautrophicum.

3D structures of Potassium Channels

Updated on 01-March-2019

Additional Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 Zhou Y, Morais-Cabral JH, Kaufman A, MacKinnon R. Chemistry of ion coordination and hydration revealed by a K+ channel-Fab complex at 2.0 A resolution. Nature. 2001 Nov 1;414(6859):43-8. PMID:11689936 doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/35102009
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Doyle DA, Morais Cabral J, Pfuetzner RA, Kuo A, Gulbis JM, Cohen SL, Chait BT, MacKinnon R. The structure of the potassium channel: molecular basis of K+ conduction and selectivity. Science. 1998 Apr 3;280(5360):69-77. PMID:9525859
  3. Jiang Y, Lee A, Chen J, Ruta V, Cadene M, Chait BT, MacKinnon R. X-ray structure of a voltage-dependent K+ channel. Nature. 2003 May 1;423(6935):33-41. PMID:12721618 doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature01580
  4. Waters MF, Minassian NA, Stevanin G, Figueroa KP, Bannister JP, Nolte D, Mock AF, Evidente VG, Fee DB, Muller U, Durr A, Brice A, Papazian DM, Pulst SM. Mutations in voltage-gated potassium channel KCNC3 cause degenerative and developmental central nervous system phenotypes. Nat Genet. 2006 Apr;38(4):447-51. Epub 2006 Feb 26. PMID:16501573 doi:ng1758
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Long SB, Tao X, Campbell EB, MacKinnon R. Atomic structure of a voltage-dependent K+ channel in a lipid membrane-like environment. Nature. 2007 Nov 15;450(7168):376-82. PMID:18004376 doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature06265

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