Potassium channels are ubiquitous membrane proteins with essential roles in nervous tissue, but little is known about the relation between their function and their molecular structure. A complementary DNA library was made from rat hippocampus, and a complementary DNA clone (RBK-1) was isolated. The predicted sequence of the 495-amino acid protein is homologous to potassium channel proteins encoded by the Shaker locus of Drosophila and differs by only three amino acids from the expected product of a mouse clone MBK-1. Messenger RNA transcribed from RBK-1 in vitro directed the expression of potassium channels when it was injected into Xenopus oocytes. The potassium current through the expressed channels resembles both the transient (or A) and the delayed rectifier currents reported in mammalian neurons and is sensitive to both 4-aminopyridine and tetraethylammonium.
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