JGP Reviews: Ion Channel Structure and Function
Reviews in this collection discuss ground-breaking work at the structure–function interface for a range of different channels, including those activated by voltage, ligands, ions and cell swelling.
Ion channels are proteins that are present in the membranes of virtually all living cells. They transport charged ions from one side of a membrane to the other, thus their activity can be observed with electrical recording techniques. The first recordings of single ion channels openings were published in JGP fifty years ago. Thirty years later, the first ion channel structure was revealed, and hundreds more – of numerous different channels in multiple conformations – have been published since then. Experiments to determine the functional correlate of each of these structural conformations are now more important than ever so that a detailed understanding ion channel mechanisms can be achieved.