We have cloned and expressed a mouse brain cDNA, mShal, that encodes a transient, A-type K+ current. mShal, the vertebrate homolog of the Drosophila Shal gene, defines a distinct subfamily of voltage-gated K+ channels. The Shal deduced proteins are more highly conserved between mouse and Drosophila than other presently known K+ channels. mShal carries a "low-threshold" A-type current with a hyperpolarized steady-state inactivation midpoint. Marked similarity was observed between mShal and its Drosophila homolog, fShal, with regard to voltage sensitivity of activation, macroscopic inactivation, steady-state inactivation, and 4-aminopyridine sensitivity. Sequence conservation for Shal proteins is unusually high at the amino terminus, an area considered important for inactivation. Removal of conserved amino-terminal residues from mShal modifies macroscopic inactivation but the transient nature of the current is preserved. Underlying the very high conservation of mShal and fShal may be a role in the nervous system that is conserved in widely divergent species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4386-4390
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 1991


  • Shaker gene family
  • Transient current
  • Xenopus oocyte


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