Channelpedia

Signature and Pathophysiology of Non-canonical Pores in Voltage-Dependent Cation Channels.

Katharina Held, Thomas Voets, Joris Vriens

Rev. Physiol. Biochem. Pharmacol., 2016 Jan 21 , ,

Opening and closing of voltage-gated cation channels allows the regulated flow of cations such as Na(+), K(+), and Ca(2+) across cell membranes, which steers essential physiological processes including shaping of action potentials and triggering Ca(2+)-dependent processes. Classical textbooks describe the voltage-gated cation channels as membrane proteins with a single, central aqueous pore. In recent years, however, evidence has accumulated for the existence of additional ion permeation pathways in this group of cation channels, distinct from the central pore, which here we collectively name non-canonical pores. Whereas the first non-canonical pores were unveiled only after making specific point mutations in the voltage-sensor region of voltage-gated Na(+) and K(+) channels, recent evidence indicates that they may also be functional in non-mutated channels. Moreover, several channelopathies have been linked to mutations that cause the appearance of a non-canonical ion permeation pathway as a new pathological mechanism. This review provides an integrated overview of the biophysical properties of non-canonical pores described in voltage-dependent cation channels (KV, NaV, Cav, Hv1, and TRPM3) and of the (patho)physiological impact of opening of such pores.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26791748