Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

Formation of Ion Channel Complexes

Science's STKE  31 Oct 2006:
Vol. 2006, Issue 359, pp. tw373
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3592006tw373

Large-conductance Ca2+- and voltage-activated K+ (BKCa) channels play diverse and critical roles in a number of neuronal functions and provide a link between membrane potential and intracellular calcium. Previous studies suggested a tight functional coupling between BK channels and certain classes of voltage-gated Ca2+ channels in neurons. However, the molecular basis for such coupling has been unclear. Berkefeld et al. now confirm that BKCa channels form bimolecular complexes with voltage-gated Ca2+ channels. This bimolecular complex formation provides the basis for the fast and localized Ca2+-activated K+ signaling that controls neuronal firing patterns and release of hormones and transmitters in the central nervous system.

H. Berkefeld, C. A. Sailer, W. Bildl, V. Rohde, J.-O. Thumfart, S. Eble, N. Klugbauer, E. Reisinger, J. Bischofberger, D. Oliver, H.-G. Knaus, U. Schulte, B. Fakler, BKCa-Cav channel complexes mediate rapid and localized Ca2+-activated K+ signaling. Science 314, 615-620 (2006). [Abstract] [Full Text]