Functional analysis of an archaebacterial voltage-dependent K+ channel

Vanessa Ruta, Youxing Jiang, Alice Lee, Jiayun Chen, Roderick MacKinnon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

180 Scopus citations


All living organisms use ion channels to regulate the transport of ions across cellular membranes1. Certain ion channels are classed as voltage-dependent because they have a voltage-sensing structure that induces their pores to open in response to changes in the cell membrane voltage. Until recently, the voltage-dependent K+, Ca2+ and Na+ channels were regarded as a unique development of eukaryotic cells, adapted to accomplish specialized electrical signalling, as exemplified in neurons. Here we present the functional characterization of a voltage-dependent K+ (Kv) channel from a hyperthermophilic archaebacterium from an oceanic thermal vent. This channel possesses all the functional attributes of classical neuronal Kv channels. The conservation of function reflects structural conservation in the voltage sensor as revealed by specific, high-affinity interactions with tarantula venom toxins, which evolved to inhibit eukaryotic Kv channels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)180-185
Number of pages6
Issue number6928
StatePublished - Mar 13 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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