Potassium channel structures

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2002 Feb;3(2):115-21. doi: 10.1038/nrn727.


The molecular basis of K+ channel function is universally conserved. K+ channels allow K+ flux and are essential for the generation of electric current across excitable membranes. K+ channels are also the targets of various intracellular control mechanisms, such that the suboptimal regulation of channel function might be related to pathological conditions. Because of the fundamental role of K+ channels in controlling membrane excitability, a structural understanding of their function and regulation will provide a useful framework for understanding neuronal physiology. Many recent physiological and crystallographic studies have led to new insights into the workings of K+ channels.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / physiology
  • Humans
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Potassium / metabolism*
  • Potassium / physiology
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated / metabolism*
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated / physiology
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*


  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated
  • Potassium

Associated data

  • PDB/1BL8