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K2P Potassium Channels, Mysterious and Paradoxically Exciting

New evidence reveals that the common electrolyte disorder hypokalemia can induce K2P1 channels that are normally selective for K+ to break the rules and conduct Na+. This defiant behavior leads to paradoxical depolarization of many cells in the heart, increasing the risk for lethal arrhythmia. The new research resolves a mystery uncovered 50 years ago and bestows an array of new riddles. Here, I discuss how K2P1 might achieve this alchemy—through stable residence of the K+ selectivity filter in a Na+-conductive state between its open and C-inactive configurations—and predict that other K+ channels and environmental stimuli will be discovered to produce the same excitatory misconduct.

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Resource Type: Bibliography, Illustration, Journal article/Issue, Review
Audience Level: Undergraduate upper division 15-16, Graduate, Professional (degree program)

Author and Copyright


Authors and Editors: Steve A. N. Goldstein of Department of Pediatrics and Institute for Molecular Pediatric Sciences, University of Chicago
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science
Format: application/pdf, image/gif, image/jpeg, text/html
Copyright and other restrictions: Yes
Cost: Yes

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Collection:
STKE/Science Signaling


     
   

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