276 research outputs found

    The transient receptor potential family of ion channels

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    TRPCs, GPCRs and the Bayliss effect

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    An increase in pressure inside most small arteries unexpectedly results in a vasoconstriction. This phenomenon, known as the Bayliss effect, involves the stretch-induced activation of non-selective cation channels in the vascular smooth muscle cells. Recent work by Mederos y Schnitzler et al. now demonstrates that the stretch-induced channel activity originates from a fascinating interplay between a TRP cation channel and the angiotensin receptor.status: publishe

    Herbal Compounds and Toxins Modulating TRP Channels

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    Although the benefits are sometimes obvious, traditional or herbal medicine is regarded with skepticism, because the mechanism through which plant compounds exert their powers are largely elusive. Recent studies have shown however that many of these plant compounds interact with specific ion channels and thereby modulate the sensing mechanism of the human body. Especially members of the Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels have drawn large attention lately as the receptors for plant-derived compounds such as capsaicin and menthol. TRP channels constitute a large and diverse family of channel proteins that can serve as versatile sensors that allow individual cells and entire organisms to detect changes in their environment. For this family, a striking number of empirical views have turned into mechanism-based actions of natural compounds. In this review we will give an overview of herbal compounds and toxins, which modulate TRP channels

    A quest in neurosciences: neuroportraits

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    Mg2+-dependent Gating and Strong Inward Rectification of the Cation Channel TRPV6

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    TRPV6 (CaT1/ECaC2), a highly Ca2+-selective member of the TRP superfamily of cation channels, becomes permeable to monovalent cations in the absence of extracellular divalent cations. The monovalent currents display characteristic voltage-dependent gating and almost absolute inward rectification. Here, we show that these two features are dependent on the voltage-dependent block/unblock of the channel by intracellular Mg2+. Mg2+ blocks the channel by binding to a site within the transmembrane electrical field where it interacts with permeant cations. The block is relieved at positive potentials, indicating that under these conditions Mg2+ is able to permeate the selectivity filter of the channel. Although sizeable outward monovalent currents were recorded in the absence of intracellular Mg2+, outward conductance is still ∼10 times lower than inward conductance under symmetric, divalent-free ionic conditions. This Mg2+-independent rectification was preserved in inside-out patches and not altered by high intracellular concentrations of spermine, indicating that TRPV6 displays intrinsic rectification. Neutralization of a single aspartate residue within the putative pore loop abolished the Mg2+ sensitivity of the channel, yielding voltage-independent, moderately inwardly rectifying monovalent currents in the presence of intracellular Mg2+. The effects of intracellular Mg2+ on TRPV6 are partially reminiscent of the gating mechanism of inwardly rectifying K+ channels and may represent a novel regulatory mechanism for TRPV6 function in vivo

    Pore Structure Influences Gating Properties of the T-type Ca2+ Channel α1G

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    The selectivity filter of all known T-type Ca2+ channels is built by an arrangement of two glutamate and two aspartate residues, each one located in the P-loops of domains I–IV of the α1 subunit (EEDD locus). The mutations of the aspartate residues to glutamate induce changes in the conduction properties, enhance Cd2+ and proton affinities, and modify the activation curve of the channel. Here we further analyze the role of the selectivity filter in the gating mechanisms of T-type channels by comparing the kinetic properties of the α1G subunit (CaV3.1) to those of pore mutants containing aspartate-to-glutamate substitution in domains III (EEED) or IV (EEDE). The change of the extracellular pH induced similar effects on the activation properties of α1G and both pore mutants, indicating that the larger affinity of the mutant channels for protons is not the cause of the gating modifications. Both mutants showed alterations in several gating properties with respect to α1G, i.e., faster macroscopic inactivation in the voltage range from −10 to 50 mV, positive voltage shift and decrease in the voltage sensitivity of the time constants of activation and deactivation, decrease of the voltage sensitivity of the steady-state inactivation, and faster recovery from inactivation for long repolarization periods. Kinetic modeling suggests that aspartate-to-glutamate mutations in the EEDD locus of α1G modify the movement of the gating charges and alter the rate of several gating transitions. These changes are independent of the alterations of the selectivity properties and channel protonation

    Extracellular Ca2+ Modulates the Effects of Protons on Gating and Conduction Properties of the T-type Ca2+ Channel α1G (CaV3.1)

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    Since Ca2+ is a major competitor of protons for the modulation of high voltage–activated Ca2+ channels, we have studied the modulation by extracellular Ca2+ of the effects of proton on the T-type Ca2+ channel α1G (CaV3.1) expressed in HEK293 cells. At 2 mM extracellular Ca2+ concentration, extracellular acidification in the pH range from 9.1 to 6.2 induced a positive shift of the activation curve and increased its slope factor. Both effects were significantly reduced if the concentration was increased to 20 mM or enhanced in the absence of Ca2+. Extracellular protons shifted the voltage dependence of the time constant of activation and decreased its voltage sensitivity, which excludes a voltage-dependent open pore block by protons as the mechanism modifying the activation curve. Changes in the extracellular pH altered the voltage dependence of steady-state inactivation and deactivation kinetics in a Ca2+-dependent manner, but these effects were not strictly correlated with those on activation. Model simulations suggest that protons interact with intermediate closed states in the activation pathway, decreasing the gating charge and shifting the equilibrium between these states to less negative potentials, with these effects being inhibited by extracellular Ca2+. Extracellular acidification also induced an open pore block and a shift in selectivity toward monovalent cations, which were both modulated by extracellular Ca2+ and Na+. Mutation of the EEDD pore locus altered the Ca2+-dependent proton effects on channel selectivity and permeation. We conclude that Ca2+ modulates T-type channel function by competing with protons for binding to surface charges, by counteracting a proton-induced modification of channel activation and by competing with protons for binding to the selectivity filter of the channel