Abstract

Potassium currents are crucial for the repolarization of electrically excitable membranes, a role that makes potassium channels a target for physiological modifications that alter synaptic efficacy. The Shaker locus of Drosophila is thought to encode a K+ channel. The sequence of two complementary DNA clones from the Shaker locus is reported here. The sequence predicts an integral membrane protein of 70,200 daltons containing seven potential membrane-spanning sequences. In addition, the predicted protein is homologous to the vertebrate sodium channel in a region previously proposed to be involved in the voltage-dependent activation of the Na+ channel. These results support the hypothesis that Shaker encodes a structural component of a voltage-dependent K+ channel and suggest a conserved mechanism for voltage activation.

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