In the mammalian heart, Ca2+-independent, depolarization-activated potassium (K+) currents contribute importantly to shaping the waveforms of action potentials, and several distinct types of voltage-gated K+ currents that subserve this role have been characterized. In most cardiac cells, transient outward currents, Ito,f and/or Ito,s, and several components of delayed reactivation, including IKr, IKs, IKur and IK,slow, are expressed. Nevertheless, there are species, as well as cell-type and regional, differences in the expression patterns of these currents, and these differences are manifested as variations in action potential waveforms. A large number of voltage-gated K+ channel pore-forming (alpha) and accessory (beta, minK, MiRP) subunits have been cloned from or shown to be expressed in heart, and a variety of experimental approaches are being exploited in vitro and in vivo to define the relationship(s) between these subunits and functional voltage-gated cardiac K+ channels. Considerable progress has been made in defining these relationships recently, and it is now clear that distinct molecular entities underlie the various electrophysiologically distinct repolarizing K+ currents (i.e. Ito,f, Ito,s, IKr, IKs, IKur, IK,slow, etc.) in myocyardial cells.