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International collaboration by scientists culminates in novel ion channels database

An important resource consolidating understanding of the roles played by Ion channels in drug action is now available for scientists and students.

The International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (IUPHAR) announce the publication of a new ion channels database, covering both the voltage-gated (VGIC) and ligand-gated (LGIC) ion channels.

This represents a major addition to its existing mammalian receptor database, which is freely available at

The IUPHAR database, hosted by the Centre for Cardiovascular Science at University of Edinburgh, is a carefully curated and authoritative resource drawing together peer reviewed information about pharmacological, chemical, genetic, functional and patho-physiological properties of human, rat and mouse genes encoding in excess of 354 non sensory G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) including orphan receptors, 71 LGIC and 141 VGIC subunits.

This set of genes is known to encompass a third of current drug targets and a significant proportion of likely targets for the development of future medicines.

In keeping with the database's tradition, many leading research pharmacologists were closely involved in the data curation process, with Professors William A. Catterall (University of Washington) and George Gutman (University of California) taking leading roles for VGICs and Professors John A. Peters (The University of Dundee) and Richard Olsen (University of California, Los Angeles) for the LGICs.

The IUPHAR database is a major online reference resource and first-port-of-call for information about mammalian drug targets for students and scientists throughout the world, attracting approximately 2500 unique visitors to its website each week from 130 countries.

In this current release of receptor families, IUPHAR provides detailed information for 8 VGIC and 3 LGIC families. Curation of the remaining five ion channel gene families is underway. The ion channel database is now available at:

IUPHAR also remains committed to the ongoing update of the GPCR database which has been publicly available since 2005. GPCR pages updated in the current release are melanin-concentrating hormone, estrogen and P2Y receptors.


Contact: Chido Mpamhanga
University of Edinburgh

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