Developmental clustering of ion channels at and near the node of Ranvier

Dev Biol. 2001 Aug 1;236(1):5-16. doi: 10.1006/dbio.2001.0326.


Voltage-gated Na(+) and K(+) channels are localized to distinct subcellular domains in mammalian myelinated nerve fibers. Specifically, Na(+) channels are clustered in high densities at nodes of Ranvier, while K(+) channels are found in juxtaparanodal zones just beyond regions of axoglial contact where sequential layers of the myelin sheath terminate. Specific targeting, clustering, and maintenance of these channels in their respective domains are essential to achieve high conduction velocities of action potential propagation. The cellular, molecular, and developmental mechanisms that exist to achieve this neuronal specialization are discussed and reviewed. Current evidence points to a prominent role in channel clustering played by myelinating glial cells, and sites of axoglial contact in particular.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ion Channels*
  • Mice
  • Neurons / chemistry
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Potassium Channels / chemistry
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Ranvier's Nodes / chemistry
  • Ranvier's Nodes / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sodium Channels / chemistry


  • Ion Channels
  • Potassium Channels
  • Sodium Channels