Hysteresis in voltage-gated channels
Ion channels constitute a superfamily of membrane proteins found in all living creatures. Their activity allows fast translocation of ions across the plasma membrane down the ion's transmembrane electrochemical gradient, resulting in a difference in electrical potential across the plasma membrane, known as the membrane potential. A group within this superfamily, namely voltage-gated channels, displays activity that is sensitive to the membrane potential. The activity of voltage-gated channels is controlled by the membrane potential, while the membrane potential is changed by these channels' activity. This interplay produces variations in the membrane potential that have evolved into electrical signals in many organisms. These signals are essential for numerous biological processes, including neuronal activity, insulin release, muscle contraction, fertilization and many others. In recent years, the activity of the voltage-gated channels has been observed not to follow a simple relationship with the membrane potential. Instead, it has been shown that the activity of voltage-gated channel displays hysteresis. In fact, a growing number of evidence have demonstrated that the voltage dependence of channel activity is dynamically modulated by activity itself. In spite of the great impact that this property can have on electrical signaling, hysteresis in voltage-gated channels is often overlooked. Addressing this issue, this review provides examples of voltage-gated ion channels displaying hysteretic behavior. Further, this review will discuss how Dynamic Voltage Dependence in voltage-gated channels can have a physiological role in electrical signaling. Furthermore, this review will elaborate on the current thoughts on the mechanism underlying hysteresis in voltage-gated channels.
Villalba-Galea, C. A.
Hysteresis in voltage-gated channels.
Channels (Austin), 11(2), 140–155.