- Top of page
- Structure–function relationship of ion channels
- Controversies of Ca2+ channel inactivation
- Diversity of inwardly rectifying potassium channels
- P2X receptor ion channels – their roles in nociception
In the past two decades, investigations on ion channels have made remarkable progress. Since the development of patch clamp recording techniques in 1980s, investigators have been able to detect the real-time behaviour of single channels on many kinds of cell membrane. Rapid advances in molecular biology techniques led to the cloning and identification of a variety of ion channel genes, many of which have been the targets of knock-outs or disruptions. Recent significant progress in structural biology has enabled us to grasp the molecular architecture of some ion channels, and their structure–function relationship. In this special issue, knowledge from these various approaches are summarized and presented by seven specialists in the respective fields. This discussion took place on 24 March, 2003, during the joint annual scientific sessions of the 80th Japanese Physiological and the 76th Pharmacological Society meetings in Fukuoka, Japan. The symposium was held just after the outbreak of hostilities in Iraq, and some of the speakers originally invited could not participate. Fortunately, two excellent substitute speakers took part (Drs Zamponi and Findlay on Ca2+ channels).