Ligand Gated Ion Channels

Ligand gated ion channels are proteins that open to allow ions such as Na+, K+, Ca2+ or Cl- to pass through in response to a ligand such as a neurotransmitter. For example, the cys-loop family of ligand gated ion channels are neurotransmitter receptors responsible for rapid transmission of nerve impulses. The cys-loop family includes the glycine receptor, the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor, serotonin and the zinc activated ion channel and the GABA receptor, which can regulate the cell cycle.

Ionotrophic glutamate receptors bind glutamate and include the AMPA, kainate and NMDA receptors.

ATP- gated channels open in response to the binding of ATP.

Phosphatidylinositol 4,5 bisphospate (PIP2) binds to inward rectifying potassium channels.

Introduction to Receptors


  • G Protein Coupled Receptors
  • Receptor Tyrosine Kinase
  • Toll-like Receptors
  • Ligand-Gated Ion Channels
  • Integrins


  • The Basics of Cell Surface Receptors
  • Excellent Review Material
  • Can be Presented as a Stand-Alone Lesson
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