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Chloride channels C


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Chloride channels are a functionally and structurally diverse group of anion selective channels involved in processes including the regulation of the excitability of neurones, skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscle, cell volume regulation, transepithelial salt transport, the acidification of internal and extracellular compartments, the cell cycle and apoptosis (reviewed in [1]). Excluding the transmittergated GABAA and glycine receptors (see separate tables), well characterised chloride channels can be classified as certain members of the voltage-sensitive ClC subfamily, calcium-activated channels, high (maxi) conductance channels, the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) and volume regulated channels [9]. No official recommendation exists regarding the classification of chloride channels. Functional chloride channels that have been cloned from, or characterised within, mammalian tissues are listed with the exception of several classes of intracellular channels (e.g. CLIC) that are reviewed by in [2].


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Other chloride channels
In addition to some intracellular chloride channels that are not considered here, plasma membrane channels other than those listed have been functionally described. Many cells and tissues contain outwardly rectifying chloride channels (ORCC) that may correspond to VRAC active under isotonic conditions. A cyclic AMP-activated Cl- channel that does not correspond to CFTR has been described in intestinal Paneth cells [8]. A Cl channel activated by cyclic GMP with a dependence on raised intracellular Ca2+ has been recorded in various vascular smooth muscle cells types, which has a pharmacology and biophysical characteristics very different from the 'conventional' CaCC [5,7]. It has been proposed that bestrophin-3 (BEST3, Q8N1M1) is an essential component of the cyclic GMP-activated channel [6]. A proton-activated, outwardly rectifying anion channel has also been described [4].

The chloride intracellular channel proteins (CLICs) are non-canonical ion channels with six homologs, distinct from most ion channels in that they have both soluble and integral membrane forms. The physiological role of CLICs appears to be maintenance of intracellular membranes, which is associated with tubulogenesis but may involve other substructures [3]. .

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How to cite this family page

Database page citation:

Chloride channels. Accessed on 27/11/2020. IUPHAR/BPS Guide to PHARMACOLOGY,

Concise Guide to PHARMACOLOGY citation:

Alexander SPH, Mathie A, Peters JA, Veale EL, Striessnig J, Kelly E, Armstrong JF, Faccenda E, Harding SD, Pawson AJ, Sharman JL, Southan C, Davies JA; CGTP Collaborators. (2019) The Concise Guide to PHARMACOLOGY 2019/20: Ion channels. Br J Pharmacol. 176 Issue S1: S142-228.