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Neuron. 2006 Jul 20;51(2):201-12.

Coiled coils direct assembly of a cold-activated TRP channel.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94158, USA.


Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels mediate numerous sensory transduction processes and are thought to function as tetramers. TRP channel physiology is well studied; however, comparatively little is understood regarding TRP channel assembly. Here, we identify an autonomously folded assembly domain from the cold- and menthol-gated channel TRPM8. We show that the TRPM8 cytoplasmic C-terminal domain contains a coiled coil that is necessary for channel assembly and sufficient for tetramer formation. Cell biological experiments indicate that coiled-coil formation is required for proper channel maturation and trafficking and that the coiled-coil domain alone can act as a dominant-negative inhibitor of functional channel expression. Our data define an authentic TRP modular assembly domain, establish a clear role for coiled coils in ion channel assembly, demonstrate that coiled-coil assembly domains are a general feature of TRPM channels, and delineate a new tool that should be of general use in dissecting TRPM channel function.

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