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Molecular basis of functional diversity of voltage-gated potassium channels in mammalian brain.

W Stühmer, J P Ruppersberg, K H Schröter, B Sakmann, M Stocker, K P Giese, A Perschke, A Baumann, O Pongs

EMBO J., 1989 Nov , 8, 3235-44

Cloning and sequencing of cDNAs isolated from a rat cortex cDNA library reveals that a gene family encodes several highly homologous K+ channel forming (RCK) proteins. Functional characterization of the channels expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes following microinjection of in vitro transcribed RCK-specific RNAs shows that each of the RCK proteins forms K+ channels that differ greatly in both their functional and pharmacological properties. This suggests that the molecular basis for the diversity of voltage-gated K+ channels in mammalian brain is based, at least partly, on the expression of several RCK proteins by a family of genes and their assembly to homooligomeric K+ channels with different functional properties.