Insights into TRPM4 Function, Regulation and Physiological Role

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Abstract

In the current review we will summarise data from the recent literature describing molecular and functional properties of TRPM4. Together with TRPM5, these channels are up till now the only molecular candidates for a class of non-selective, Ca2+-impermeable cation channels which are activated by elevated Ca2+ levels in the cytosol. Apart from intracellular Ca2+, TRPM4 activation is also dependent on membrane potential. Additionally, channel activity is modulated by ATP, phosphatidylinositol bisphosphate (PiP2), protein kinase C (PKC) phosphorylation and heat. The molecular determinants for channel activation, permeation and modulation are increasingly being clarified, and will be discussed here in detail. The physiological role of Ca2+-activated non-selective cation channels is unclear, especially in the absence of gene-specific knock-out mice, but evidence indicates a role as a regulator of membrane potential, and thus the driving force for Ca2+ entry from the extracellular medium.