Family

Potassium channel, calcium-activated, SK (IPR015449)

Short name: K_chnl_Ca-activ_SK

Family relationships

None.

Description

Potassium channels are the most diverse group of the ion channel family [PMID: 1772658, PMID: 1879548]. They are important in shaping the action potential, and in neuronal excitability and plasticity [PMID: 2451788]. The potassium channel family is composed of several functionally distinct isoforms, which can be broadly separated into 2 groups [PMID: 2555158]: the practically non-inactivating 'delayed' group and the rapidly inactivating 'transient' group.

These are all highly similar proteins, with only small amino acid changes causing the diversity of the voltage-dependent gating mechanism, channel conductance and toxin binding properties. Each type of K+ channel is activated by different signals and conditions depending on their type of regulation: some open in response to depolarisation of the plasma membrane; others in response to hyperpolarisation or an increase in intracellular calcium concentration; some can be regulated by binding of a transmitter, together with intracellular kinases; while others are regulated by GTP-binding proteins or other second messengers [PMID: 2448635]. In eukaryotic cells, K+ channels are involved in neural signalling and generation of the cardiac rhythm, act as effectors in signal transduction pathways involving G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and may have a role in target cell lysis by cytotoxic T-lymphocytes [PMID: 1373731]. In prokaryotic cells, they play a role in the maintenance of ionic homeostasis [PMID: 11178249].

All K+ channels discovered so far possess a core of alpha subunits, each comprising either one or two copies of a highly conserved pore loop domain (P-domain). The P-domain contains the sequence (T/SxxTxGxG), which has been termed the K+ selectivity sequence. In families that contain one P-domain, four subunits assemble to form a selective pathway for K+ across the membrane. However, it remains unclear how the 2 P-domain subunits assemble to form a selective pore. The functional diversity of these families can arise through homo- or hetero-associations of alpha subunits or association with auxiliary cytoplasmic beta subunits. K+ channel subunits containing one pore domain can be assigned into one of two superfamilies: those that possess six transmembrane (TM) domains and those that possess only two TM domains. The six TM domain superfamily can be further subdivided into conserved gene families: the voltage-gated (Kv) channels; the KCNQ channels (originally known as KvLQT channels); the EAG-like K+ channels; and three types of calcium (Ca)-activated K+ channels (BK, IK and SK) [PMID: 11178249]. The 2TM domain family comprises inward-rectifying K+ channels. In addition, there are K+ channel alpha-subunits that possess two P-domains. These are usually highly regulated K+ selective leak channels.

Ca2+-activated K+ channels are a diverse group of channels that are activated by an increase in intracellular Ca2+ concentration. They are found in the majority of nerve cells, where they modulate cell excitability and action potential. Three types of Ca2+-activated K+ channel have been characterised, termed small-conductance (SK), intermediate conductance (IK) and large conductance (BK) respectively [PMID: 9687354].

SK channels are thought to play an important role in the functioning of all excitable tissues. To date, 3 subtypes (designated SK1-SK3) have been cloned, each of which possesses a different tissue expression profile: SK1 channels are expressed in the heart; SK2 channels are found in the adrenal gland; and SK3 channels are known to be present in skeletal muscle [PMID: 8781233]. SK channels have a single-channel conductance of 2-20 pS and are activated by rises in cytosolic calcium with half maximal activation in the 400-800 nM range [PMID: 2432249, PMID: 7993625]. Unlike BK channels, they are voltage insensitive and unaffected by low concentrations of TEA, charybdotoxin, or iberiotoxin. However, they are potently blocked by the bee venom apamin [PMID: 6099412, PMID: 2430185], tubocurarine, and quaternary salts of bicuculline [PMID: 9280156, PMID: 10390643]. A new series of compounds that block SK channels include dequalinium

GO terms

Biological Process

GO:0006813 potassium ion transport

Molecular Function

GO:0016286 small conductance calcium-activated potassium channel activity

Cellular Component

GO:0016021 integral component of membrane

Contributing signatures

Signatures from InterPro member databases are used to construct an entry.
PRINTS
Pfam
PANTHER