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X-ray crystallography of TRP channels

Published on 04.30.2018 in Channels


Appu K. Singh, Luke L. McGoldrick, Kei Saotome, Alexander I. Sobolevsky

Transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channels are molecular sensors of a large variety of stimuli including temperature, mechanical stress, voltage, small molecules including capsaicin and menthol, and lipids such as phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2). Since the same TRP channels may respond to different physical and chemical stimuli, they can serve as signal integrators. Many TRP channels are calcium permeable and contribute to Ca2+ homeostasis and signaling. Although the TRP channel family was discovered decades ago, only recently have the structures of many of these channels been solved, largely by cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM). Complimentary to cryo-EM, X-ray crystallography provides unique tools to unambiguously identify specific atoms and can be used to study ion binding in channel pores. In this review we describe crystallographic studies of the TRP channel TRPV6. The methodology used in these studies may serve as a template for future structural analyses of different types of TRP and other ion channels.

Picture 1. Photographs of actual rat TRPV6 crystals, diffraction pattern and data collection parameters.