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J Neurosci. 2005 Feb 16;25(7):1674-81.

Functional control of cold- and menthol-sensitive TRPM8 ion channels by phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Biophysical Sciences, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York 14214, USA.


Cold is detected by a small subpopulation of peripheral thermoreceptors. TRPM8, a cloned menthol- and cold-sensitive ion channel, has been suggested to mediate cold transduction in the innocuous range. The channel shows a robust response in whole-cell recordings but exhibits markedly reduced activity in excised membrane patches. Here we report that phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2) is an essential regulator of the channel function. The rundown of the channel is prevented by lipid phosphatase inhibitors. Application of exogenous PIP2 both activates the channel directly and restores rundown activity. Whole-cell experiments involving intracellular dialysis with polyvalent cations, inhibition of PIP2 synthesis kinases, and receptor-mediated hydrolysis of PIP2 show that PIP2 also modulates the channel activity in the intact cells. The crucial role of PIP2 on the function of TRPM8 suggests that the membrane PIP2 level may be an important regulator of cold transduction in vivo. The opposite effects of PIP2 on the vanilloid receptor TRPV1 and TRPM8 also implies that the membrane lipid may have dual actions as a bimodal switch to selectively control the heat- and cold-induced responses in nociceptors expressing both channels.

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