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Pathways modulating neural KCNQ/M (Kv7) potassium channels.

Patrick Delmas, David A Brown

Nat. Rev. Neurosci., 2005 Nov , 6, 850-62

K(+) channels play a crucial role in regulating the excitability of neurons. Many K(+) channels are, in turn, regulated by neurotransmitters. One of the first neurotransmitter-regulated channels to be identified, some 25 years ago, was the M channel. This was categorized as such because its activity was inhibited through stimulation of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors. M channels are now known to be composed of subunits of the Kv7 (KCNQ) K(+) channel family. However, until recently, the link between the receptors and the channels has remained elusive. Here, we summarize recent developments that have begun to clarify this link and discuss their implications for physiology and medicine.