Voltage-gated potassium channels (VGKCs) are identified as transmembrane channels that are specific for potassium and sensitive to voltage changes in the cell's membrane potential and play a key role in setting the resting membrane potential. VGKCs are assembled from membrane-integrated alpha subunits and auxiliary beta subunits and are involved in a variety of functions, including secretion, electrogenesis, and cell motility. Voltage-gated potassium channel beta subunits are cytoplasmic proteins that co-purify with the pore-forming alpha subunits. Beta subunits are auxiliary proteins which associate with alpha subunits, sometimes in an alpha4beta4 stoichiometry. The potassium channel beta subunits are found in particular abundance in the central nervous system of mammals, and also expressed in invertebrates and plants.
Voltage-gated potassium channel beta subunits do not conduct current on their own but rather regulate the activity of Kv (potassium voltage-gated ion) channels. And they are suggested to be functionally important in human heart. Here, the two members of voltage-gated potassium channel beta subunit family are covered in further detail.
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