Thermo-TRP Channels: Biophysics of Polymodal Receptors
David Baez-Nieto, Juan Pablo Castillo, Constantino Dragicevic, Osvaldo Alvarez, and Ramon Latorre
In this chapter we discuss the polymodal activation of thermo-TRP channels using as exemplars two of the best characterized members of this class of channels: TRPM8 and TRPV1. Since channel activation by temperature is the hallmark of thermo-TRP channels, we present a detailed discussion on the thermodynamics involved in the gating processes by temperature, voltage, and agonists. We also review recently published data in an effort to put together all the pieces available of the amazing puzzle of thermo-TRP channel activation. Special emphasis is made in the structural components that allow the channel-forming proteins to integrate such diverse stimuli, and in the coupling between the different sensors and the ion conduction pathway. We conclude that the present data is most economically explained by allosteric models in which temperature, voltage, and agonists act separately to modulate channel activity.