Ion Channels, Receptors and Transporters

Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology

, Volume 458, Issue 5, pp 851-860

Function and regulation of TRP family channels in C. elegans

  • Rui XiaoAffiliated withLife Sciences Institute and Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology, University of Michigan
  • , X. Z. Shawn XuAffiliated withLife Sciences Institute and Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology, University of Michigan Email author 

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Abstract

Seventeen transient receptor potential (TRP) family proteins are encoded by the C. elegans genome, and they cover all of the seven TRP subfamilies, including TRPC, TRPV, TRPM, TRPN, TRPA, TRPP, and TRPML. Classical forward and reverse genetic screens have isolated mutant alleles in every C. elegans trp gene, and their characterizations have revealed novel functions and regulatory mechanisms of TRP channels. For example, the TRPC channels TRP-1 and TRP-2 control nicotine-dependent behavior, while TRP-3, a sperm TRPC channel, is regulated by sperm activation and required for sperm–egg interactions during fertilization. Similar to their vertebrate counterparts, C. elegans TRPs function in sensory physiology. For instance, the TRPV channels OSM-9 and OCR-2 act in chemosensation, osmosensation, and touch sensation, the TRPA member TRPA-1 regulates touch sensation, while the TRPN channel TRP-4 mediates proprioception. Some C. elegans TRPM, TRPP, and TRPML members exhibit cellular functions similar to their vertebrate homologues and have provided insights into human diseases, including polycystic kidney disease, hypomagnesemia, and mucolipidosis type IV. The availability of a complete set of trp gene mutants in conjunction with its facile genetics makes C. elegans a powerful model for studying the function and regulation of TRP family channels in vivo.

Keywords

TRP Channels Calcium Sensory transduction TRP channels Neuron Behavior