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In this second Focus Issue in an ongoing series of articles on the regulation and function of ion channels, Science's STKE presents four articles that highlight various aspects of ion channel function. A Review by Faundez and Hartzell concerns the functions of intracellular chloride channels in endosomes and related organelles, concluding with an intriguing scenario whereby chloride channels in the membranes of synaptic vesicles could help determine their neurotransmitter content. A Perspective by DeCoursey on the functions of ion channels in phagocytes critically evaluates the possible contributions of proton channels and large-conductance calcium- and voltage-activated potassium channels to phagosomal destruction of microbes. Trauner and Kramer discuss various examples of metabolic regulation of potassium channels, speculating that other classes of potassium channels may be similarly subject to regulation by various small metabolites. Wolf discusses recent research implicating the TRPM7 "chanzyme" in magnesium homeostasis, research that has turned our previous concepts of the regulation of magneisum homeostasis upside down.
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