Jump to navigation Jump to search
External IDsGeneCards: [1]
RefSeq (mRNA)



RefSeq (protein)



Location (UCSC)n/an/a
PubMed searchn/an/a
View/Edit Human

The renal outer medullary potassium channel (ROMK) is an ATP-dependent potassium channel (Kir1.1) that transports potassium out of cells. It plays an important role in potassium recycling in the thick ascending limb (TAL) and potassium secretion in the cortical collecting duct (CCD) of the nephron. In humans, ROMK is encoded by the KCNJ1 (potassium inwardly-rectifying channel, subfamily J, member 1) gene.[1][2][3] Multiple transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene.[4]


Potassium channels are present in most mammalian cells, where they participate in a wide range of physiologic responses. The protein encoded by this gene is an integral membrane protein and inward-rectifier type potassium channel. It is inhibited by internal ATP and probably plays an important role in potassium homeostasis. The encoded protein has a greater tendency to allow potassium to flow into a cell rather than out of a cell (hence the term "inwardly rectifying").[4] ROMK was identified as the pore-forming component of the mitochondrial ATP-sensitive potassium (mitoKATP) channel, known to play a critical role in cardioprotection against ischemic-reperfusion injury in the heart[5] as well as in the protection against hypoxia-induced brain injury from stroke or other ischemic attacks.

Clinical significance

Mutations in this gene have been associated with antenatal Bartter syndrome, which is characterized by salt wasting, hypokalemic alkalosis, hypercalciuria, and low blood pressure.[4]

Role in hypokalemia and magnesium deficiency

The ROMK channels are inhibited by magnesium in the nephron's normal physiologic state. In states of hypokalemia (a state of potassium deficiency), concurrent magnesium deficiency results in a state of hypokalemia that may be more difficult to correct with potassium replacement alone. This may be directly due to decreased inhibition of the outward potassium current in states where magnesium is low. Conversely, magnesium deficiency alone is not likely to cause a state of hypokalemia [6].


  1. Ho K, Nichols CG, Lederer WJ, Lytton J, Vassilev PM, Kanazirska MV, Hebert SC (March 1993). "Cloning and expression of an inwardly rectifying ATP-regulated potassium channel". Nature. 362 (6415): 31–8. doi:10.1038/362031a0. PMID 7680431.
  2. Yano H, Philipson LH, Kugler JL, Tokuyama Y, Davis EM, Le Beau MM, Nelson DJ, Bell GI, Takeda J (May 1994). "Alternative splicing of human inwardly rectifying K+ channel ROMK1 mRNA". Molecular Pharmacology. 45 (5): 854–60. PMID 8190102.
  3. Kubo Y, Adelman JP, Clapham DE, Jan LY, Karschin A, Kurachi Y, Lazdunski M, Nichols CG, Seino S, Vandenberg CA (December 2005). "International Union of Pharmacology. LIV. Nomenclature and molecular relationships of inwardly rectifying potassium channels". Pharmacological Reviews. 57 (4): 509–26. doi:10.1124/pr.57.4.11. PMID 16382105.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 "Entrez Gene: potassium inwardly-rectifying channel".
  5. Foster DB, Ho AS, Rucker J, Garlid AO, Chen L, Sidor A, Garlid KD, O'Rourke B (August 2012). "Mitochondrial ROMK channel is a molecular component of mitoK(ATP)". Circulation Research. 111 (4): 446–54. doi:10.1161/circresaha.112.266445. PMC 3560389. PMID 22811560.
  6. Huang, Chou-Long (2007). "Mechanism of Hypokalemia in Magnesium Deficiency". Science in Renal Medicine. 18: 2649–2651. doi:10.1681/asn.2007070792.

Further reading

External links

This article incorporates text from the United States National Library of Medicine, which is in the public domain.