Potassium channels selectively conduct K(+) ions across cell membranes and have key roles in cell excitability. Their opening and closing can be spontaneous or controlled by membrane voltage or ligand binding. We used Ba(2+) as a probe to determine the location of the ligand-sensitive gate in an inwardly rectifying K(+) channel (Kir6.2). To a K(+) channel, Ba(2+) and K(+) are of similar sizes, but Ba(2+) blocks the pore by binding within the selectivity filter. We found that internal Ba(2+) c...Expand abstract
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The ligand-sensitive gate of a potassium channel lies close to the selectivity filter.
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