New sites of action for GIRK and SK channels

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2009 Jul;10(7):475-80. doi: 10.1038/nrn2668.


It was recently discovered that two different types of voltage-insensitive K+ channels, G protein-coupled inwardly rectifying K+ (GIRK) and small-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ (SK) channels, are located on dendritic branches, spines and shafts in the postsynaptic densities of excitatory synapses in many central neurons. Together with increases in our knowledge of how these channels are regulated through stable protein-protein interactions in multi-protein complexes, this has added another layer of complexity to our understanding of synaptic transmission and plasticity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dendritic Spines / metabolism
  • Dendritic Spines / ultrastructure
  • G Protein-Coupled Inwardly-Rectifying Potassium Channels / chemistry
  • G Protein-Coupled Inwardly-Rectifying Potassium Channels / genetics
  • G Protein-Coupled Inwardly-Rectifying Potassium Channels / metabolism*
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Protein Conformation
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Small-Conductance Calcium-Activated Potassium Channels / chemistry
  • Small-Conductance Calcium-Activated Potassium Channels / genetics
  • Small-Conductance Calcium-Activated Potassium Channels / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology


  • G Protein-Coupled Inwardly-Rectifying Potassium Channels
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Small-Conductance Calcium-Activated Potassium Channels