The cardiac inward rectifier potassium current (IK1), present in all ventricular and atrial myocytes, has been suggested to play a major role in repolarization of the action potential and stabilization of the resting potential. The molecular basis is now ascribed to members of the Kir2 sub-family of inward rectifier K channel genes, and the availability of recombinant expression systems has led to elucidation of the mechanism of inward rectification, as well as additional regulatory mechanisms involving intracellular pH and phosphorylation. In vivo manipulation of the genes encoding IK1 and regulatory proteins now promise to provide new insights to the role of this conductance in the heart. This review details recent advances and considers the prospects for further elucidation of the role of this conductance in cardiac electrical activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-638
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001


  • Action potential
  • Inward rectifier
  • K channel
  • Kir2.1
  • Polyamines
  • Spermine


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