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Pore dilation occurs in TRPA1 but not in TRPM8 channels

DOI: 10.1186/1744-8069-5-3

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Abundantly expressed in sensory neurons, TRPV1, TRPA1 and TRPM8 are involved in sensory function, pain and neurogenic inflammation [1]. The function of these ion channels has been attributed to their ability to pass certain ion species across the plasma membrane. Once activated, TRPV1, TRPA1 and TRPM8 are permeable to small cations such as Ca2+, K+, Na+; hence, channel activation simultaneously depolarizes the plasma membrane and raises intracellular Ca2+, which subsequently triggers a variety of physiological processes. By analogy to voltage-gated K+ channels, it is assumed that ion selectivity of TRP channels should be an invariant signature to the respective channel. However, this notion has been challenged recently. When activated, TRPV1 exhibits time and agonist-dependent changes in ion selectivity [2]. In fact, TRPV1 undergoes pore dilation and allows permeation of large organic cations, including spermine (202.3 Da), NMDG (195.2 Da), Yo-Pro (376 Da), gentamycin (477.6 Da) and QX-314 [3-7]. Here we explored whether TRPA1 and TRPM8 undergo pore dilation by examining Yo-Pro uptake and changes in ion selectivity upon channel activation.Yo-Pro is a divalent cation impermeable to the plasma membrane. However, under certain conditions, it can enter cells, bind nucleic acids and emit fluorescence. Hence the uptake of Yo-Pro has been used previously as an indicator of pore dilation [2,8,9]. In HEK293-F cells transiently expressing rat TRPA1, allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) evoked robust increases in intracellular Ca2+ (Fig. 1A). Concomitantly, AITC also induced Yo-Pro uptake in a concentration-dependent manner (Fig. 1B). At higher concentrations of AITC (100 or 300 μM), the increase in fluorescence was immediately noticeable and continued to increase for about 50 min. In addition, AITC also induced Ca2+ influx and Yo-Pro uptake in cells expressing human TRPA1 and mouse TRPA1, but not in untransfected cells (data not shown). In cells expressing human TRPM8, menthol activat


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