Invertebrate TRP proteins as functional models for mammalian channels
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- Vriens, J., Owsianik, G., Voets, T. et al. Pflugers Arch - Eur J Physiol (2004) 449: 213. doi:10.1007/s00424-004-1314-1
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Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels constitute a large and diverse family of channel proteins that are expressed in many tissues and cell types in both vertebrates and invertebrates. While the biophysical features of many of the mammalian TRP channels have been described, relatively little is known about their biological roles. Invertebrate TRPs offer valuable genetic handles for characterizing the functions of these cation channels in vivo. Importantly, studies in model organisms can help to identify fundamental mechanisms involved in normal cellular functions and human disease. In this review, we give an overview of the different TRP channels known in the two most utilized invertebrate models, the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and the fruit-fly Drosophila melanogaster, and discuss briefly the heuristic impact of these invertebrate channels with respect to TRP function in mammals.