There are "not millions, not a few hundred...somewhere in between (some tens of thousands)" of ion channels in a neuron.

Given the number of ion channels per neuron, knowing the half-life of ion channels allows to calculate the production rate of ion channels, and vice versa.

I am looking for estimates of tpyical half-lifes of ion channels, somehow like this: "not years, not seconds... somewhere in between" but with better upper and lower bounds: months, weeks, .... minutes, hours.

Alternatively: estimates of production rates: "not thousands per second, not one per second ... somewhere in between".

[I know, that all numbers - number of ion channels, production rates, effective half-lifes - can change over time for a given neuron - this may have to do with long-term potentation. So I am talking about neurons in steady-state over a period in which no long-term potentation takes place. But I guess this won't change the rough estimates I asked for too much.]


1 Answer 1


The rate varies with channels and channel subunits, and you can also distinguish between membrane half-life and degradation half-life, because channels can be cycled bidirectionally between the plasma membrane and internal membranes like the ER. For many (most likely all??) channels these processes are under the control of phosphorylation and/or ubiquination.

For a rough estimate of magnitude though, the relevant time window is hours to days. I'll include a couple references below to support this time frame.


Bedford, F. K., Kittler, J. T., Muller, E., Thomas, P., Uren, J. M., Merlo, D., ... & Moss, S. J. (2001). GABAA receptor cell surface number and subunit stability are regulated by the ubiquitin-like protein Plic-1. Nature neuroscience, 4(9), 908-916.

Colley, B. S., Biju, K. C., Visegrady, A., Campbell, S., & Fadool, D. A. (2007). Neurotrophin B receptor kinase increases Kv subfamily member 1.3 (Kv1. 3) ion channel half-life and surface expression. Neuroscience, 144(2), 531-546.

Huh, K. H., & Wenthold, R. J. (1999). Turnover analysis of glutamate receptors identifies a rapidly degraded pool of the N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subunit, NR1, in cultured cerebellar granule cells. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 274(1), 151-157.


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