Structure and function of voltage-gated ion channels

Trends Neurosci. 1993 Dec;16(12):500-6. doi: 10.1016/0166-2236(93)90193-p.


The principal subunits of the voltage-gated Na+, Ca2+ and K+ channels are members of a related gene family and are functionally autonomous in voltage-dependent activation, ion conductance and inactivation. In this article, recent work locating the structural elements that are responsible for these three basic functions of the voltage-gated ion channels is reviewed. These studies reveal strong functional analogies among the different ion channels and suggest that the striking differences in their properties arise as variations on a common structural and functional theme.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electrophysiology
  • Humans
  • Ion Channel Gating / physiology*
  • Ion Channels / chemistry
  • Ion Channels / physiology*


  • Ion Channels