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Voltage-gated ion channels

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1 Author(s)
F. Bezanilla ; Biomed. Eng. Interdepartmental Program, Univ. of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Voltage-dependent ion channels are membrane proteins that conduct ions at high rates regulated by the voltage across the membrane. They play a fundamental role in the generation and propagation of the nerve impulse and in cell homeostasis. The voltage sensor is a region of the protein bearing charged amino acids that relocate upon changes in the membrane electric field. The movement of the sensor initiates a conformational change in the gate of the conducting pathway thus controlling the flow of ions. Major advances in molecular biology, spectroscopy, and structural techniques are delineating the main features and possible structural changes that account for the function of voltage-dependent channels.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on NanoBioscience  (Volume:4 ,  Issue: 1 )