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J Physiol. 2008 Aug 1;586(Pt 15):3565-75. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2008.155812. Epub 2008 Jun 5.

TRP channels entering the structural era.

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  • Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University, 7 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge, MA 01238, USA. gaudet@mcb.harvard.edu


Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels are important in many neuronal and non-neuronal physiological processes. The past 2 years have seen much progress in the use of structural biology techniques to elucidate molecular mechanisms of TRP channel gating and regulation. Two approaches have proven fruitful: (i) a divide-and-conquer strategy has provided high-resolution structural details of TRP channel fragments although it fails to explain how these fragments are integrated in the full channel; and (ii) electron microscopy of entire TRP channels has yielded low-resolution images that provide a basis for testable models of TRP channel architecture. The results of each approach, summarized in this review, provide a preview of what the future holds in TRP channel structural biology.

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