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Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2007;(179):541-57.

Trafficking of TRP channels: determinants of channel function.

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  • 1Secretory Physiology Section, NIH, Building 10, Room 1N-113, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels are members of a relatively newly described family of cation channels that display a wide range of properties and mechanisms of activation. The exact physiological function and regulation of most of these channels have not yet been conclusively determined. Studies over the past decade have revealed important features of the channels that contribute to their function. These include homomeric interactions between TRP monomers, selective heteromeric interactions within members of the same subfamily, interactions of TRPs with accessory proteins and assembly into macromolecular signaling complexes, and regulation within functionally distinct cellular microdomains. Further, distinct constitutive and regulated vesicular trafficking mechanisms have a critical role not only in controlling the surface expression of TRP channels but also their activation in response to stimuli. A number of cellular components such as cytoskeletal and scaffolding proteins also contribute to TRP channel trafficking. Thus, mechanisms involved in the assembly and trafficking of TRP channels control their plasma membrane expression and critically impact their function and regulation.

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