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J Neurochem. 2007 Jan;100(1):211-24. Epub 2006 Oct 27.

Ethanol inhibits cold-menthol receptor TRPM8 by modulating its interaction with membrane phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate.

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Department of Cellular Neurophysiology, Institute of Physiology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Prague, Czech Republic.


Ethanol has opposite effects on two members of the transient receptor potential (TRP) family of ion channels: it inhibits the cold-menthol receptor TRPM8, whereas it potentiates the activity of the heat- and capsaicin-gated vanilloid receptor TRPV1. Both thermosensitive cation channels are critically regulated by the membrane lipid, phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP(2)). The effects of this phospholipid on TRPM8 and TRPV1 are also functionally opposite: PIP(2) is necessary for the activation of TRPM8 but it constitutively inhibits TRPV1. This parallel led us to investigate the possible role of PIP(2) in the ethanol-induced modulation of rat TRPM8, heterologously expressed in HEK293T cells. In this study, we characterize the effects of ethanol (0.1-10%) on whole-cell currents produced by menthol and by low temperature (< 17 degrees C). We show that the inclusion of PIP(2) in the intracellular solution results in a strong reduction in the ethanol-induced inhibition of menthol-evoked responses. Conversely, intracellular dialysis with anti-PIP(2) antibody or with the PIP(2) scavenger, poly L-lysine, enhanced the ethanol-induced inhibition of TRPM8. A 20 min pre-incubation with wortmannin caused a modest decrease in inhibition produced by 1% ethanol, indicating that the ethanol-induced inhibition is not mediated by lipid kinases. These findings suggest that ethanol inhibits TRPM8 by weakening the PIP(2)-TRPM8 channel interaction; a similar mechanism may contribute to the ethanol-mediated modulation of some other PIP(2)-sensitive TRP channels.

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