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date: 01 July 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Many biological processes essential for life rely on the transport of specific ions at specific times across cell membranes. Such exquisite control of ionic currents, which is regulated by protein ion channels, is fundamental for the proper functioning of the cells. It is not surprising, therefore, that the mechanism of ion permeation and selectivity in ion channels has been extensively investigated by means of experimental and theoretical approaches. These studies have provided great mechanistic insight but have also raised new questions that are still unresolved. This chapter first summarizes the main techniques that have provided significant knowledge about ion permeation and selectivity. It then discusses the physical mechanisms leading to ion permeation and the explanations that have been proposed for ion selectivity in voltage-gated potassium, sodium, and calcium channels.

Keywords: voltage-gated ion channels, ion permeation, ion selectivity, electrophysiology, molecular dynamics

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