Transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) protein is a nonselective cation channel. Although many studies suggest that TRPA1 is involved in inflammatory and neuropathic pain, its mechanism remains unclear. Here we identify an alternative splice variant of the mouse Trpa1 gene. TRPA1a (full-length) and TRPA1b (splice variant) physically interact with each other and TRPA1b increases the expression of TRPA1a in the plasma membrane. TRPA1a and TRPA1b co-expression significantly increases current density in response to different agonists without affecting their single-channel conductance. Exogenous overexpression of Trpa1b gene in wild-type and TRPA1KO DRG neurons also increases TRPA1a-mediated AITC responses. Moreover, expression levels of Trpa1a and Trpa1b mRNAs change dynamically in two pain models (complete Freund’s adjuvant-induced inflammatory pain and partial sciatic nerve ligation-induced neuropathic pain models). These results suggest that TRPA1 may be regulated through alternative splicing under these pathological conditions.
TRPA1 is a transient receptor potential channel family member and is involved in the detection of nociceptive stimuli. Zhou et al. identify an alternative splice variant of TRPA1, which increases TRPA1 plasma expression and channel function, and enhances pain-like behaviour in mice.