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The transient receptor potential family of ion channels

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Genome Biology

BioMed Central

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      Abstract

      Summary

      The transient receptor potential (TRP) multigene superfamily encodes integral membrane proteins that function as ion channels. Members of this family are conserved in yeast, invertebrates and vertebrates. The TRP family is subdivided into seven subfamilies: TRPC (canonical), TRPV (vanilloid), TRPM (melastatin), TRPP (polycystin), TRPML (mucolipin), TRPA (ankyrin) and TRPN (NOMPC-like); the latter is found only in invertebrates and fish. TRP ion channels are widely expressed in many different tissues and cell types, where they are involved in diverse physiological processes, such as sensation of different stimuli or ion homeostasis. Most TRPs are non-selective cation channels, only few are highly Ca 2+ selective, some are even permeable for highly hydrated Mg 2+ ions. This channel family shows a variety of gating mechanisms, with modes of activation ranging from ligand binding, voltage and changes in temperature to covalent modifications of nucleophilic residues. Activated TRP channels cause depolarization of the cellular membrane, which in turn activates voltage-dependent ion channels, resulting in a change of intracellular Ca 2+ concentration; they serve as gatekeeper for transcellular transport of several cations (such as Ca 2+ and Mg 2+), and are required for the function of intracellular organelles (such as endosomes and lysosomes). Because of their function as intracellular Ca 2+ release channels, they have an important regulatory role in cellular organelles. Mutations in several TRP genes have been implicated in diverse pathological states, including neurodegenerative disorders, skeletal dysplasia, kidney disorders and pain, and ongoing research may help find new therapies for treatments of related diseases.

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      The capsaicin receptor: a heat-activated ion channel in the pain pathway.

      Capsaicin, the main pungent ingredient in 'hot' chilli peppers, elicits a sensation of burning pain by selectively activating sensory neurons that convey information about noxious stimuli to the central nervous system. We have used an expression cloning strategy based on calcium influx to isolate a functional cDNA encoding a capsaicin receptor from sensory neurons. This receptor is a non-selective cation channel that is structurally related to members of the TRP family of ion channels. The cloned capsaicin receptor is also activated by increases in temperature in the noxious range, suggesting that it functions as a transducer of painful thermal stimuli in vivo.
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        Identification of a cold receptor reveals a general role for TRP channels in thermosensation.

        The cellular and molecular mechanisms that enable us to sense cold are not well understood. Insights into this process have come from the use of pharmacological agents, such as menthol, that elicit a cooling sensation. Here we have characterized and cloned a menthol receptor from trigeminal sensory neurons that is also activated by thermal stimuli in the cool to cold range. This cold- and menthol-sensitive receptor, CMR1, is a member of the TRP family of excitatory ion channels, and we propose that it functions as a transducer of cold stimuli in the somatosensory system. These findings, together with our previous identification of the heat-sensitive channels VR1 and VRL-1, demonstrate that TRP channels detect temperatures over a wide range and are the principal sensors of thermal stimuli in the mammalian peripheral nervous system.
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          TRP channels.

          The TRP (Transient Receptor Potential) superfamily of cation channels is remarkable in that it displays greater diversity in activation mechanisms and selectivities than any other group of ion channels. The domain organizations of some TRP proteins are also unusual, as they consist of linked channel and enzyme domains. A unifying theme in this group is that TRP proteins play critical roles in sensory physiology, which include contributions to vision, taste, olfaction, hearing, touch, and thermo- and osmosensation. In addition, TRP channels enable individual cells to sense changes in their local environment. Many TRP channels are activated by a variety of different stimuli and function as signal integrators. The TRP superfamily is divided into seven subfamilies: the five group 1 TRPs (TRPC, TRPV, TRPM, TRPN, and TRPA) and two group 2 subfamilies (TRPP and TRPML). TRP channels are important for human health as mutations in at least four TRP channels underlie disease.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Laboratory of Ion Channel Research, Campus Gasthuisberg, KU Leuven, Herestraat 49, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium
            Contributors
            Journal
            Genome Biol
            Genome Biology
            BioMed Central
            1465-6906
            1465-6914
            2011
            17 March 2011
            17 March 2012
            : 12
            : 3
            : 218
            3129667
            gb-2011-12-3-218
            21401968
            10.1186/gb-2011-12-3-218
            Copyright ©2011 BioMed Central Ltd.
            Categories
            Protein Family Review

            Genetics

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