TWIK-1, a ubiquitous human weakly inward rectifying K+ channel with a novel structure

EMBO J. 1996 Mar 1;15(5):1004-11.


A new human weakly inward rectifying K+ channel, TWIK-1, has been isolated. This channel is 336 amino acids long and has four transmembrane domains. Unlike other mammalian K+ channels, it contains two pore-forming regions called P domains. Genes encoding structural homologues are present in the genome of Caenorhabditis elegans. TWIK-1 currents expressed in Xenopus oocytes are time-independent and present a nearly linear I-V relationship that saturated for depolarizations positive to O mV in the presence of internal Mg2+. This inward rectification is abolished in the absence of internal Mg2+. TWIK-1 has a unitary conductance of 34 pS and a kinetic behaviour that is dependent on the membrane potential. In the presence of internal Mg2+, the mean open times are 0.3 and 1.9 ms at -80 and +80 mV, respectively. The channel activity is up-regulated by activation of protein kinase C and down-regulated by internal acidification. Both types of regulation are indirect. TWIK-1 channel activity is blocked by Ba2+(IC50=100 microM), quinine (IC50=50 microM) and quinidine (IC50=95 microM). This channel is of particular interest because its mRNA is widely distributed in human tissues, and is particularly abundant in brain and heart. TWIK-1 channels are probably involved in the control of background K+ membrane conductances.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • Genes, Helminth
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Molecular Structure
  • Oocytes / metabolism
  • Potassium Channels / chemistry*
  • Potassium Channels / genetics
  • Potassium Channels / metabolism
  • Potassium Channels, Tandem Pore Domain*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Xenopus laevis


  • DNA, Complementary
  • KCNK1 protein, human
  • Potassium Channels
  • Potassium Channels, Tandem Pore Domain
  • RNA, Messenger

Associated data

  • GENBANK/U33632