A large proportion of the recoding events mediated by RNA editing are in mRNAs that encode ion channels and transporters. The effects of these events on protein function have been characterized in only a few cases. In even fewer instances are the mechanistic underpinnings of these effects understood. This review focuses on how RNA editing affects protein function and higher order physiology. In mammals, particular attention is given to the GluA2, an ionotropic glutamate receptor subunit, and K(v) 1.1, a voltage-dependent K+ channel, because they are particularly well understood. In K(v) addition, work on cephalopod K+ channels and Na+/K+-ATPases has also provided important clues on the rules used by RNA editing to regulate excitability. Finally, we discuss some of the emerging targets for editing and how this process may be used to regulate nervous function in response to a variable environment.