Channels selective for potassium or chloride ions are present in all intracellular membranes such as mitochondrial membranes, sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum, nuclear membrane and chromaffin granule membranes. They probably play an important role in events such as acidification of intracellular compartments and regulation of organelle volume. Additionally, intracellular ion channels are targets for pharmacologically active compounds, e.g. mitochondrial potassium channels interact with potassium channel openers such as diazoxide. This review describes current observations concerning the properties and functional roles of intracellular potassium and chloride channels.