Potassium channels are a group of ubiquitously expressed proteins that serve numerous functions in excitable and non-excitable cells. One class of integral membrane potassium channels is the large conductance, calcium-activated potassium channel (Maxi K+). Maxi K+ differs from most other potassium channels in that its activation is controlled by both increases in intracellular calcium and by membrane depolarization. Maxi K+ dual activation is possible because of its structure. The core of the channel, which is similar to other potassium channels, is a Maxi K+ alpha homotetramer that contains both a voltage sensor and an intracellular calcium binding domain. In vascular smooth muscle, an auxiliary beta-subunit is found in a 1:1 stoichiometry. The beta-subunit exhibits its effect on the Maxi K+ channel by effectively decreasing by 5- to 10- fold the concentration of calcium required to keep the pore open. Maxi K+ beta is the target for possible therapeutics because of its role in blood flow and blood pressure regulation.
big potassium channel beta subunit 1; BK channel beta subunit; BK channel beta subunit 1; BK channel subunit beta-1; BKbeta; calcium-activated potassium channel beta subunit; Calcium-activated potassium channel subunit beta; Calcium-activated potassium channel subunit beta-1; Calcium-activated potassium channel, subfamily M subunit beta-1; Charybdotoxin receptor subunit beta-1; K(VCA)beta-1; large conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channel beta 1 subunit; Maxi K channel subunit beta-1; MaxiK channel beta-subunit 1; potassium channel subfamily M regulatory beta subunit 1; potassium large conductance calcium-activated channel, subfamily M, beta member 1; Slo-beta; Slo-beta-1; Slowpoke-beta