Voltage-gated K+ channels are important determinants of neuronal membrane excitability. Moreover, differences in K+ channel expression patterns and densities contribute to the variations in action potential waveforms and repetitive firing patterns evident in different neuronal cell types (Maletic-Savatic et al., 1995; Pongs, 1999; Blaine and Ribera, 1998; Burger and Ribera, 1996). Kv7.2/KCNQ K+ channels associate with Kv7.3/KCNQ3 K+ channles to form a potassium channel with essentially identical properties to the channel underlying the native M-current, a slowly activating and deactivating potassium conductance which plays a critical role in determining the subthreshold electrical excitability of neurons as well as the responsiveness to synaptic inputs.
Defects in Kv7.2 are the cause of benign familial neonatal seizures type 1 (BFNS1). It is also expressed in the peripheral terminals of nociceptive primary afferents.
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