The versatile Kv channels in the nervous system: actions beyond action potentials


Voltage-gated K+ (Kv) channel opening repolarizes excitable cells by allowing K+ efflux. Over the last two decades, multiple Kv functions in the nervous system have been found to be unrelated to or beyond the immediate control of excitability, such as shaping action potential contours or regulation of inter-spike frequency. These functions include neuronal exocytosis and neurite formation, neuronal cell death, regulation of astrocyte Ca2+, glial cell and glioma proliferation. Some of these functions have been shown to be independent of K+ conduction, that is, they suggest the non-canonical functions of Kv channels. In this review, we focus on neuronal or glial plasmalemmal Kv channel functions which are unrelated to shaping action potentials or immediate control of excitability. Similar functions in other cell types will be discussed to some extent in appropriate contexts.

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Y.M.L. would like to thank China Medical University, Taiwan, for providing fundings (CMU107-S-01). L.W.C.C would like to thank the Macau Science and Technology Development Fund (FUNDO PARA O DESENVOLVIMENTO DAS CIÊNCIAS E DA TECNOLOGIA) for support (Grant number 002/2015/A1).

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Correspondence to Yuk- Man Leung.

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Chow, L.W.C., Leung, Y.M. The versatile Kv channels in the nervous system: actions beyond action potentials. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 77, 2473–2482 (2020).

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  • Voltage-gated K+ channel
  • Neuron
  • Glia
  • Ca2+
  • Nervous system
  • Non-canonical