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chloride voltage-gated channel Kb

Normal Function

The CLCNKB gene belongs to the CLC family of genes, which provide instructions for making chloride channels. These channels, which transport negatively charged chlorine atoms (chloride ions), play a key role in a cell's ability to generate and transmit electrical signals. Some CLC channels regulate the flow of chloride ions across cell membranes, while others transport chloride ions within cells.

The CLCNKB gene provides instructions for making a chloride channel called ClC-Kb. These channels are found predominantly in the kidneys. ClC-Kb is one of several proteins that work together to regulate the movement of ions into and out of kidney cells. The transport of chloride ions by ClC-Kb channels is part of the mechanism by which the kidneys reabsorb salt (sodium chloride or NaCl) from the urine back into the bloodstream. The retention of salt affects the body's fluid levels and helps maintain blood pressure.

ClC-Kb channels are also located in the inner ear, where they play a role in normal hearing.

Health Conditions Related to Genetic Changes

Bartter syndrome

More than 30 mutations in the CLCNKB gene have been identified in people with Bartter syndrome type III. This form of the condition, which is also described as classical Bartter syndrome, begins in childhood and tends to be less severe than other types of Bartter syndrome.

Many of the mutations responsible for Bartter syndrome type III delete the entire CLCNKB gene. Other mutations change single protein building blocks (amino acids) in the ClC-Kb channel or lead to an abnormally short, nonfunctional version of ClC-Kb. A loss of functional ClC-Kb channels impairs the transport of chloride ions in the kidneys. As a result, the kidneys cannot reabsorb salt normally and excess salt is lost through the urine (salt wasting). The abnormal salt loss disrupts the normal balance of ions in the body. This imbalance underlies many of the major features of Bartter syndrome type III.

Several people with a more severe form of Bartter syndrome have had mutations in both the CLCNKB gene and a closely related gene called CLCNKA. The CLCNKA gene provides instructions for making a very similar chloride channel, ClC-Ka, that is also found in the kidneys and inner ear. A combination of CLCNKA and CLCNKB gene mutations causes a life-threatening form of the disorder known as Bartter syndrome type IV or antenatal Bartter syndrome with sensorineural deafness. In addition to salt wasting, this form of the disorder is characterized by hearing loss that results from a loss of ClC-Ka and ClC-Kb function in the inner ear.

More About This Health Condition

Gitelman syndrome

Mutations in the CLCNKB gene are a rare cause of Gitelman syndrome. Like the mutations responsible for Bartter syndrome, the genetic changes associated with Gitelman syndrome impair the kidneys' ability to reabsorb salt, leading to salt wasting. Abnormalities of salt transport also affect the reabsorption of other ions, including ions of potassium, magnesium, and calcium. The resulting imbalance of ions in the body leads to the characteristic features of Gitelman syndrome.

More About This Health Condition

Other disorders

A common variation (polymorphism) in the CLCNKB gene has been associated with salt-sensitive hypertension, a form of high blood pressure related to increased levels of salt in the blood. The polymorphism replaces the amino acid threonine with the amino acid serine at position 481 in the ClC-Kb channel (also written as Thr481Ser or T481S). This genetic change increases the activity of the ClC-Kb channel, which directs the kidneys to reabsorb more salt into the bloodstream. The excess salt raises blood pressure and increases the risk of developing hypertension.

Other Names for This Gene

  • chloride channel Kb
  • chloride channel protein ClC-Kb
  • chloride channel, kidney, B
  • chloride channel, voltage-sensitive Kb
  • ClC-K2
  • ClC-Kb
  • hClC-Kb

Additional Information & Resources

Tests Listed in the Genetic Testing Registry

Scientific Articles on PubMed

Catalog of Genes and Diseases from OMIM

Gene and Variant Databases


  • Enriquez R, Adam V, Sirvent AE, Garcia-Garcia AB, Millan I, Amoros F. Gitelman syndrome due to p.A204T mutation in CLCNKB gene. Int Urol Nephrol. 2010 Dec;42(4):1099-102. doi: 10.1007/s11255-010-9850-4. Epub 2010 Oct 8. Citation on PubMed
  • Jeck N, Konrad M, Peters M, Weber S, Bonzel KE, Seyberth HW. Mutations in the chloride channel gene, CLCNKB, leading to a mixed Bartter-Gitelman phenotype. Pediatr Res. 2000 Dec;48(6):754-8. doi: 10.1203/00006450-200012000-00009. Citation on PubMed
  • Jeck N, Waldegger P, Doroszewicz J, Seyberth H, Waldegger S. A common sequence variation of the CLCNKB gene strongly activates ClC-Kb chloride channel activity. Kidney Int. 2004 Jan;65(1):190-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-1755.2004.00363.x. Citation on PubMed
  • Jeck N, Waldegger S, Lampert A, Boehmer C, Waldegger P, Lang PA, Wissinger B, Friedrich B, Risler T, Moehle R, Lang UE, Zill P, Bondy B, Schaeffeler E, Asante-Poku S, Seyberth H, Schwab M, Lang F. Activating mutation of the renal epithelial chloride channel ClC-Kb predisposing to hypertension. Hypertension. 2004 Jun;43(6):1175-81. doi: 10.1161/01.HYP.0000129824.12959.f0. Epub 2004 May 17. Citation on PubMed
  • Kieferle S, Fong P, Bens M, Vandewalle A, Jentsch TJ. Two highly homologous members of the ClC chloride channel family in both rat and human kidney. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Jul 19;91(15):6943-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.91.15.6943. Citation on PubMed or Free article on PubMed Central
  • Konrad M, Vollmer M, Lemmink HH, VAN DEN Heuvel LPWJ, Jeck N, Vargas-Poussou R, Lakings A, Ruf R, Deschenes G, Antignac C, Guay-Woodford L, Knoers NVAM, Seyberth HW, Feldmann D, Hildebrandt F. Mutations in the chloride channel gene CLCNKB as a cause of classic Bartter syndrome. J Am Soc Nephrol. 2000 Aug;11(8):1449-1459. doi: 10.1681/ASN.V1181449. Citation on PubMed
  • Kramer BK, Bergler T, Stoelcker B, Waldegger S. Mechanisms of Disease: the kidney-specific chloride channels ClCKA and ClCKB, the Barttin subunit, and their clinical relevance. Nat Clin Pract Nephrol. 2008 Jan;4(1):38-46. doi: 10.1038/ncpneph0689. Citation on PubMed
  • Nozu K, Inagaki T, Fu XJ, Nozu Y, Kaito H, Kanda K, Sekine T, Igarashi T, Nakanishi K, Yoshikawa N, Iijima K, Matsuo M. Molecular analysis of digenic inheritance in Bartter syndrome with sensorineural deafness. J Med Genet. 2008 Mar;45(3):182-6. doi: 10.1136/jmg.2007.052944. Citation on PubMed
  • Schlingmann KP, Konrad M, Jeck N, Waldegger P, Reinalter SC, Holder M, Seyberth HW, Waldegger S. Salt wasting and deafness resulting from mutations in two chloride channels. N Engl J Med. 2004 Mar 25;350(13):1314-9. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa032843. No abstract available. Citation on PubMed
  • Simon DB, Bindra RS, Mansfield TA, Nelson-Williams C, Mendonca E, Stone R, Schurman S, Nayir A, Alpay H, Bakkaloglu A, Rodriguez-Soriano J, Morales JM, Sanjad SA, Taylor CM, Pilz D, Brem A, Trachtman H, Griswold W, Richard GA, John E, Lifton RP. Mutations in the chloride channel gene, CLCNKB, cause Bartter's syndrome type III. Nat Genet. 1997 Oct;17(2):171-8. doi: 10.1038/ng1097-171. Citation on PubMed

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