Thallium Flux Assay for Measuring the Activity of Monovalent Cation Channels and Transporters

Methods Mol Biol. 2018:1684:105-114. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4939-7362-0_9.


Monovalent cation channels are critically important for physiological processes ranging from the control of neuronal excitability to the maintenance of solute balance. Mutations in these channels are associated with a multiplicity of diseases and monovalent cation channel-modulating drugs are used as therapeutics. Techniques that allow the measurement of the activity of these ion channels are useful for exploring their many biological roles as well as enabling the discovery and characterization of ion channel modulators for the purposes of drug discovery. Although there are numerous techniques for measuring the activity of monovalent cation channels, the thallium flux assay technique is a widely used fluorescence-based approach. Described herein is a method for using the thallium-flux technique for detecting and quantifying the activity of small-molecule potassium channel modulators in 384-well plates.

Keywords: Drug discovery; Fluorescent dye; High-throughput screening; Ion channel; Potassium channel; Sodium channel; Thallium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • HEK293 Cells
  • High-Throughput Screening Assays / methods*
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Phenylurea Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Potassium Channels / metabolism
  • Pyrazoles / pharmacology*
  • Thallium / chemistry*


  • CID 56642816
  • Phenylurea Compounds
  • Potassium Channels
  • Pyrazoles
  • Thallium