Minimal art: Or why small viral K+ channels are good tools for understanding basic structure and function relations

Gerhard Thiel, Dirk Baumeister, Indra Schroeder, Stefan M. Kast, James L. Van Etten, Anna Moroni

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Some algal viruses contain genes that encode proteins with the hallmarks of K+ channels. One feature of these proteins is that they are less than 100 amino acids in size, which make them truly minimal for a K+ channel protein. That is, they consist of only the pore module present in more complex K+ channels. The combination of miniature size and the functional robustness of the viral K+ channels make them ideal model systems for studying how K+ channels work. Here we summarize recent structure/function correlates from these channels, which provide insight into functional properties such as gating, pharmacology and sorting in cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)580-588
Number of pages9
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Biomembranes
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Chlorella virus
  • K channel structure function
  • Kcv
  • Viral ion channel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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