The Large Calcium-Activated Potassium Channel

  • Ramon Latorre


In many types of cells an increased cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration triggers a K+ conductance. This effect, first discovered in red blood cells (Gárdos, 1958), is mediated by ion channels in the membrane known as Ca2+-activated K+ channels. The patch-clamp and reconstitution techniques have revealed that several classes of Ca2+-activated channels exist (for reviews, see Latorre and Miller, 1983; Petersen and Maruyama, 1984; Marty, 1983a; Latorre et al., 1985; Passow, 1983). These channels are widely distributed in different cells and tissues, and they appear to play an important role in secretion, repetitive firing, action potential repolarization, and some abnormal states of the heart. All these channels are directly activated by internal Ca2+, but they can be of small or large unitary conductance, highly selective or only cation selective, and voltage dependent or voltage independent.


Chromaffin Cell Voltage Dependence Selectivity Filter Planar Bilayer Squid Axon 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ramon Latorre
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biology, Faculty of SciencesUniversity of Chile, and Centro de Estudios Cientificos de SantiagoCasillaSantiago 9Chile

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