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Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2007;(179):77-92.

TRPC3: a multifunctional, pore-forming signalling molecule.

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  • 1Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Pharmacology and Toxicology, Karl-Franzens-University of Graz, Universitaetsplatz 2, 8010 Graz, Austria.


TRPC3 represents one of the first identified mammalian relatives of the Drosophila trp gene product. Despite intensive biochemical and biophysical characterization as well as numerous attempts to uncover its physiological role in native cell systems, this channel protein still represents one of the most enigmatic members of the transient receptor potential (TRP) superfamily. TRPC3 is significantly expressed in brain and heart and likely to play a role in both non-excitable as well as excitable cells, being potentially involved in a wide spectrum of Ca2+ signalling mechanisms. Its ability to associate with a variety of partner proteins apparently enables TRPC3 to form different cation channels in native cells. TRPC3 cation channels display unique gating and regulatory properties that allow for recognition and integration of multiple input stimuli including lipid mediators and cellular Ca2+ gradients as well as redox signals. The physiological/pathophysiological functions of this highly versatile cation channel protein are as yet barely delineated. Here we summarize current knowledge on properties and possible signalling functions of TRPC3 and discuss the potential biological relevance of this signalling molecule.

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