Biodiversity of voltage sensor domain proteins

Invited Review


The six-transmembrane type voltage-gated ion channels play an essential role in neuronal excitability, muscle contraction, and secretion. The voltage sensor domain (VSD) is the key element of voltage-gated ion channels for sensing transmembrane potential, and has been studied at the levels of both biophysics and protein structure. Two recently identified proteins containing VSD without a pore domain showed unexpected biological roles: regulation of phosphatase activity and proton permeation. These proteins not only provide novel platforms to understand mechanisms of voltage sensing and ion permeation but also highlight previously unappreciated roles of membrane potential in non-neuronal cells.


Ion channel Phosphatase Voltage sensor Proton channel Phagocytosis 



voltage sensor domain


type six transmembrane type


voltage sensor only protein


Ciona intestinalis voltage-sensor containing phosphatase


inward-rectifier potassium channel


G-protein coupled type inward-rectifier potassium channel


hyperpolarization-activated and cyclic nucleotide-gated cation channel






phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome ten


protein tyrosine phosphatase


reactive oxygen species

\( O^{{ \cdot - }}_{2} \)

superoxide anion




nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Section of Developmental Neurophysiology, Okazaki Institute for Integrative BioscienceNational Institutes of Natural SciencesOkazakiJapan
  2. 2.National Institute for Physiological SciencesNational Institutes of Natural SciencesOkazakiJapan
  3. 3.The Graduate University for Advanced StudiesOkazakiJapan

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