The electric fence to cell-cycle progression: Do local changes in membrane potential facilitate disassembly of the primary cilium?: Timely and localized expression of a potassium channel may set the conditions that allow retraction of the primary cilium

Bioessays. 2017 Jun;39(6). doi: 10.1002/bies.201600190. Epub 2017 Mar 30.


Kv10.1 is a voltage-gated potassium channel relevant for tumor biology, but the underlying mechanism is still unclear. We propose that Kv10.1 plays a role coordinating primary cilium disassembly with cell cycle progression through localized changes of membrane potential at the ciliary base. Most non-dividing cells display a primary cilium, an antenna-like structure important for cell physiology. The cilium is disassembled when the cell divides, which requires an increase of Ca2+ concentration and a redistribution of phospholipids in its basal region, both of which would be facilitated by local hyperpolarization. Cells lacking Kv10.1 show impaired ciliary disassembly and delayed entrance into mitosis. Kv10.1 is predominantly expressed during G2/M, a critical period for ciliary resorption, and localizes to the ciliary base and vesicles associated with the centrosome. This could explain the influence of Kv10.1 in cell proliferation, as well as phenotypic features of patients carrying gain of function mutations in the gene.

Keywords: PIP2; cancer; cell cycle; ion channel; membrane potential; primary cilium.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle Checkpoints / physiology*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Cilia / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Mitosis*
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated / metabolism*
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated / physiology


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated