Calcium-activated potassium channels are potassium channels gated by calcium, or that are structurally or phylogenetically related to calcium-gated channels. They were first discovered in 1958 by Gardos who saw that calcium levels inside of a cell could affect the permeability of potassium through the cell membrane. To date, a series of members of the KCNM protein family have been identified, which exist as a complex with two different kinds of subunits, the pore-forming α subunit, and a β regulatory subunit. They are associated with and modulated by a wide variety of intra- and extracellular factors, such as auxiliary subunits (β, γ), Slobs (slo binding protein), phosphorylation, membrane voltage, chemical ligands (Ca²⁺, Mg²⁺). Studies have shown that the activity of calcium-activated potassium channels is implicated in many physiological processes, such as neurosecretion, smooth muscle tone, action potential shape and spike frequency adaptation. It has been reported that KCNM proteins could help regulate physiological processes, such as circadian behavioral rhythms and neuronal excitability. Furthermore, they are also involved in many processes in the body.
Here, we have described in detail of members of the KCNM protein family, which including but not limited to calcium-activated potassium channel subunit alpha-1, calcium-activated potassium channel subunit beta-1, and calcium-activated potassium channel subunit beta-2. To learn more detailed information, please click the links below.
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