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PLoS One. 2010 Aug 16;5(8):e12177. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0012177.

TRPA1 mediates mechanical currents in the plasma membrane of mouse sensory neurons.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States of America.

Abstract

Mechanosensitive channels serve as essential sensors for cells to interact with their environment. The identity of mechanosensitive channels that underlie somatosensory touch transduction is still a mystery. One promising mechanotransduction candidate is the Transient Receptor Potential Ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) ion channel. To determine the role of TRPA1 in the generation of mechanically-sensitive currents, we used dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neuron cultures from adult mice and applied rapid focal mechanical stimulation (indentation) to the soma membrane. Small neurons (diameter <27 microm) were studied because TRPA1 is functionally present in these neurons which largely give rise to C-fiber afferents in vivo. Small neurons were classified by isolectin B4 binding. Mechanically-activated inward currents were classified into two subtypes: Slowly Adapting and Transient. First, significantly more IB4 negative neurons (84%) responded to mechanical stimulation than IB4 positive neurons (54%). Second, 89% of Slowly Adapting currents were present in IB4 negative neurons whereas only 11% were found in IB4 positive neurons. Third, Slowly Adapting currents were completely absent in IB4 negative neurons from TRPA1-/- mice. Consistent with this, Slowly Adapting currents were abolished in wild type IB4 negative neurons stimulated in the presence of a TRPA1 antagonist, HC-030031. In addition, the amplitude of Transient mechanically-activated currents in IB4 positive neurons from TRPA1-/- mice was reduced by over 60% compared to TRPA1+/+ controls; however, a similar reduction did not occur in wild-type neurons treated with HC-030031. Transfection of TRPA1 in HEK293 cells did not significantly alter the proportion or magnitude of mechanically-activated currents in HEK293 cells, indicating that TRPA1 alone is not sufficient to confer mechanical sensitivity.These parallel genetic and pharmacological data demonstrate that TRPA1 mediates the Slowly Adapting mechanically-activated currents in small-diameter IB4 negative neurons from adult mice. The TRPA1 protein may also contribute to a complex that mediates Transient mechanically-activated currents in small IB4 positive C fiber type neurons.

PMID:
20808441
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2922334
Free PMC Article
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