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Structural Explanation of The paradox between High Permeability and High Conductance in a Potassium Channel

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  1. Introduction
  2. The voltage gated potassium channel
  3. The helical subunits of a voltage gated potassium channel
  4. Permeability in order to restore resting potential
  5. Important factors for determining why potassium ions enter a favorable state
  6. Conclusion
  7. References

The human body is a fascinating array of mechanisms, each perfectly sculpted to satisfy its role in the ever changing needs of our physiology. The various systems within us each rely on impulses, sent via the central or peripheral nervous systems, to coordinate everything from breathing to walking to thinking. These messages, sent throughout the entire body and relayed through neurons, consisting of axons and dendrites, are just as intricate as the systems they support.

[...] Figure Legend: A side view of a voltage operated paddle in a potassium channel in the S3- S4 domain. (http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5700/1304) The voltage sensor paddles hold four positive charges, making the total sixteen, which slide almost all the way through the fluid membrane. This motion slides the charges from the interior side of the membrane to the exterior, as the situation dictates. With the charge at the cell exterior end of the membrane, the channel remains open to let out ions, however as soon as current through the membrane changes back to negative, or resting potential of around -70 mv, the gates close again and await the next depolarization. [...]


[...] Figure Legend: Two of the helical subunits of a voltage gated potassium channel, along with carbonyl binding sites at the top, which is the narrowest region of the channel Nanolake When an action potential occurs in a cell, current propagates quickly along its membrane, which does not allow for the casual passage of charged molecules. To allow for permeability in order to restore resting potential, the voltage gated potassium channel includes, as the name suggests, a voltage operated This gate consists of four paddles, known as ?voltage sensor paddles?, with flexible hinges which are extremely sensitive to voltage changes, even when compared to a modern transistor, as illustrated in Figure 3 below. [...]

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