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Physiology and Pharmacology of Two-Pore Domain Potassium Channels

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Searching the DNA database has led to the identification of a class of K+ channels now referred to as two-pore or tandem-pore domain K+ (K2P) channels. The K2P channel is structurally unique in that each subunit possesses two poreforming domains and four transmembrane segments. In mammals, sixteen K2P channel genes have been identified, and their mRNA transcripts are expressed in many different cell types and tissues. K2P channels have properties of background or leak K+ channels, and therefore play a crucial role in setting the resting membrane potential and regulating cell excitability. Some K2P channels are activated by certain physical and chemical factors such as lipids, volatile anesthetics, heat, oxygen, protons and membrane tension. Some K2P channels are targets of agonists that bind receptors coupled to different types of G proteins, and are probably involved in a variety of neurotransmitter and peptide hormone-mediated signal transduction processes. Such diverse properties of K2P channels suggest that they are involved in many different physiological and pathophysiological processes. Therefore, K2P channels could become potentially important therapeutic targets for the treatment of various pathological conditions.
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Keywords: anesthetic agent; background potassium channel; free fatty acids; g protein-coupled receptor; mechanosensitivity; ph; two-pore domain potassium channel

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Health, The Chicago Medical School, 3333 Green Bay Road, North Chicago, IL 60064, USA;

Publication date: 01 August 2005

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  • Current Pharmaceutical Design publishes timely in-depth reviews covering all aspects of current research in rational drug design. Each issue is devoted to a single major therapeutic area. A Guest Editor who is an acknowledged authority in a therapeutic field has solicits for each issue comprehensive and timely reviews from leading researchers in the pharmaceutical industry and academia.

    Each thematic issue of Current Pharmaceutical Design covers all subject areas of major importance to modern drug design, including: medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, drug targets and disease mechanism.
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