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Neuronal KCNQ potassium channels: physiology and role in disease.
T J Jentsch
Nat. Rev. Neurosci.,
, 1, 21-30
Humans have over 70 potassium channel genes, but only some of these have been linked to disease. In this respect, the KCNQ family of potassium channels is exceptional: mutations in four out of five KCNQ genes underlie diseases including cardiac arrhythmias, deafness and epilepsy. These disorders illustrate the different physiological functions of KCNQ channels, and provide a model for the study of the 'safety margin' that separates normal from pathological levels of channel expression. In addition, several KCNQ isoforms can associate to form heteromeric channels that underlie the M-current, an important regulator of neuronal excitability.