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.