C. elegans TRP Channels
Rui Xiao and X.Z. Shawn Xu
Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels represent a superfamily of cation channels found in all eukaryotes. The C. elegans genome encodes seventeen TRP channels covering all of the seven TRP subfamilies. Genetic analyses in C. elegans have implicated TRP channels in a wide spectrum of behavioral and physiological processes, ranging from sensory transduction (e.g. chemosensation, touch sensation, proprioception and osmosensation) to fertilization, drug dependence, organelle biogenesis, apoptosis, gene expression, and neurotransmitter/hormone release. Many C. elegans TRP channels share similar activation and regulatory mechanisms with their vertebrate counterparts. Studies in C. elegans have also revealed some previously unrecognized functions and regulatory mechanisms of TRP channels. C. elegans represents an excellent genetic model organism for the study of function and regulation of TRP channels in vivo.