Encyclopedia of Neuroscience

2009 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Binder, Nobutaka Hirokawa, Uwe Windhorst

Neuronal Potassium Channels

  • Alistair Mathie
  • Emma L. Veale
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-29678-2_3922

Definition

Potassium (K+) channels are proteins which span the membrane of cells and are selectively permeable to K+ ions.

Characteristics

Potassium (K+) channels are proteins which span the membrane of cells and which, when open, allow the selective flow of K+ ions from one side of the membrane to the other (usually from the inside of the cell to the outside). They can be gated by a variety of stimuli including voltage, changes in intracellular Ca2+ and certain other physiological mediators. In neurons, they have a number of functional roles related, primarily, to the electrical properties of the membrane. As such, they determine the neuronal action potential frequency, shape the neuronal action potential waveform ( Action potential) and control the strength of synaptic contacts between neurons [see 1]. Additionally, certain K+ channels regulate the absolute excitability of neurons and set (or contribute to) the neuronal  resting membrane potential [2] ( Membrane Potential – Basics)....

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References

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alistair Mathie
    • 1
  • Emma L. Veale
    • 1
  1. 1.Medway School of PharmacyUniversities of Kent and Greenwich at MedwayKentUK