The last 10 years have seen rapid advances in the understanding of potassium channel function. Since the first inward rectifying (Kir) channels were cloned in 1994, the structural basis of channel function has been significantly elucidated, and determination of the crystal structure of a bacterial K channel (KcsA) in 1998 provided an atomic resolution of the permeation pathway. This review considers recent experimental studies aimed at uncovering the structural basis of Kir channel activity, and the applicability of comparative models based on KcsA to illuminate Kir channel pore structure and opening and closing processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-258
Number of pages6
JournalTrends in Cardiovascular Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 1 2002


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