Published Online: 15 AUG 2009
Copyright © 2003 by Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA. All rights reserved.
Encyclopedia of Applied Physics
How to Cite
Andersen, O. S., Ingólfsson, H. I. and Lundbæk, J. A. 2009. Ion Channels. Encyclopedia of Applied Physics. .
- Published Online: 15 AUG 2009
Ion channels catalyze the transmembrane movement of small inorganic ions across biological membranes. They do so by forming continuous, hydrophilic pores through which ions can cross the barrier imposed by the lipid bilayer hydrophobic core. Ion channels serve many functions: they underlie the changes in membrane potential that control many cell functions, including the propagated electrical signaling (the action potentials) in electrically excitable cells; they allow for the bulk movement of ions across cell membranes. In this chapter, we summarize key features of ion channels, with special emphasis on the channels in the plasma membrane — their structure and catalytic power, the generation of membrane potential changes, the regulation (or gating) that underlies normal channel function, and how channel function can be modulated by small molecules.
- ion selectivity;
- epithelial sodium channel