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a specific macromolecular protein pathway, with an aqueous "pore," which traverses the lipid bilayer of a cell's plasma membrane and maintains or modulates the electrical potential across this barrier by allowing the controlled influx or exit of small inorganic ions such as Na+, K+, Cl-, and Ca2+. It plays an important role in propagation of the action potential in neurons, but also may control transduction of extracellular signals and contraction in muscle cells. In general, ion channels are characterized by their selectivity for certain ions, their specific regulation or gating of these ions, and their specific sensitivity to toxins.
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
A pathway through a protein molecule or complex in a cell membrane that modulates the electrical potential across the membrane by controlling the passage of small inorganic ions into and out of the cell.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
A protein that spans the lipid bilayer of the cell membrane and regulates the movement of charged particles (e.g., electrolytes) into and out of cells.
See also: channel
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners