A decade of CLC chloride channels: structure, mechanism, and many unsettled questions

Annu Rev Biophys Biomol Struct. 2000;29:411-38. doi: 10.1146/annurev.biophys.29.1.411.


ClC-type chloride channels are ubiquitous throughout the biological world. Expressed in nearly every cell type, these proteins have a host of biological functions. With nine distinct homologues known in eukaryotes, the ClCs represent the only molecularly defined family of chloride channels. ClC channels exhibit features of molecular architecture and gating mechanisms unprecedented in other types of ion channels. They form two-pore homodimers, and their voltage-dependence arises not from charged residues in the protein, but rather via coupling of gating to the movement of chloride ions within the pore. Because the functional characteristics of only a few ClC channels have been studied in detail, we are still learning which properties are general to the whole family. New approaches, including structural analyses, will be crucial to an understanding of ClC architecture and function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / chemistry
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Chloride Channels / chemistry*
  • Chloride Channels / metabolism
  • Chloride Channels / physiology*
  • Dimerization
  • Electrophysiology
  • Humans
  • Ions
  • Muscle, Skeletal / chemistry
  • Phylogeny


  • Chloride Channels
  • Ions