BK channels (big potassium), are large conductance calcium-activated potassium channels, also known as Maxi-K, slo1, or Kca1.1. BK channels are voltage-gated potassium channels that conduct large amounts of potassium ions (K+) across the cell membrane, hence their name, big potassium. These channels can be activated (opened) by either electrical means, or by increasing Ca2+ concentrations in the cell. BK channels help regulate physiological processes, such as circadian behavioral rhythms and neuronal excitability. BK channels are also involved in many processes in the body, as it is a ubiquitous channel. They have a tetrameric structure that is composed of a transmembrane domain, voltage sensing domain, potassium channel domain, and a cytoplasmic C-terminal domain, with many X-ray structures for reference. Their function is to repolarize the membrane potential by allowing for potassium to flow outward, in response to a depolarization or increase in calcium levels.
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