A Mutation in the C. elegans EXP-2 Potassium Channel That Alters Feeding Behavior

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Science  24 Dec 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5449, pp. 2501-2504
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5449.2501

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The nematode pharynx has a potassium channel with unusual properties, which allows the muscles to repolarize quickly and with the proper delay. Here, the Caenorhabditis elegans exp-2 gene is shown to encode this channel. EXP-2 is a Kv-type (voltage-activated) potassium channel that has inward-rectifying properties resembling those of the structurally dissimilar humanether-à-go-go–related gene (HERG) channel. Null and gain-of-function mutations affect pharyngeal muscle excitability in ways that are consistent with the electrophysiological behavior of the channel, and thereby demonstrate a direct link between the kinetics of this unusual channel and behavior.

  • * Present address: Department of Biology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112–0840, USA.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: wdavis{at}

  • Present address: Department of Biology, McGill University, Montreal, PQ H3A 1B1, Canada.

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