Inwardly rectifying potassium channels (variously classified as “Kir”, “IRK” or “KCNJ” proteins) are a specific subset of potassium selective ion channels. They have the ability to generate ion channels that act as bio-diodes in cell membranes, conducting large K+ currents at membrane potentials more negative than the reversal potential for potassium (EK) while the outward flux of ions more positive to EK is reduced. The inwardly rectifying properties of these channels are the result of block by intracellular Mg2+ and polyamines. Gating (opening and closing) of KCNJ channels is voltage-independent, however, channel activity is often directly regulated by extracellular or intracellular second messengers. To date, sixteen KCNJ proteins have been identified in various mammalian cell types and they are also found in plants. It has been reported that these channels are expressed in a wide variety of cells including skeletal, cardiac, and vascular myocytes, neurons, and pancreatic β-cells. What’s more, they play numerous key physiological roles, particularly in stabilizing the resting membrane potential, regulating K+ ion flux across cellular membranes, and regulation of cellular excitability.
Here, we have described in details of members of the KCNJ proteins family, which including but not limited to ATP-sensitive inward rectifier potassium channel 1, ATP-sensitive inward rectifier potassium channel 10, and ATP-sensitive inward rectifier potassium channel 11. To learn more detailed information, please click the links below.
|Human KCNJ Protein Members|
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