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Chem Senses. 2012 Nov;37(9):809-18. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bjs065. Epub 2012 Aug 6.

Isothiocyanates from Wasabia japonica activate transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 channel.

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  • 1Division of Cell Signaling, Okazaki Institute for Integrative Bioscience (National Institute for Physiological Sciences), National Institutes of Natural Sciences, Okazaki, Aichi 444-8787, Japan.


6-(Methylsulfinyl)hexyl isothiocyanate (6-MSITC) and 6-(methylthio)hexyl isothiocyanate (6-MTITC) have low pungency and are responsible for the fresh flavor of wasabi (Wasabia japonica [Miq] Matsumura). In this study, we found that these two isothiocyanates activate transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1), and 6-MSITC activates transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1), but not other transient receptor potential channels expressed in sensory neurons. Both 6-MSITC and 6-MTITCinduced intracellular Ca(2+) increases in human embryonic kidney-derived 293 cells expressing mouse TRPA1 (mTRPA1) as measured by Ca(2+) imaging. In whole-cell patch-clamp recordings, 6-MSITC and 6-MTITC dose-dependently activated both mTRPA1 (EC(50) = 147±26 µM for 6-MSITC and 30±3 µM for 6-MTITC) and human TRPA1 (hTRPA1; EC(50) = 39±4 µM for 6-MSITC and 34±3 µM for 6-MTITC). In addition, TRPA1 N-terminal cysteines, which are reported to be important for channel activation by electrophilic ligands, were involved in 6-MSITC- and 6-MTITC-evoked TRPA1 activation. These isothiocyanates also activated endogenous TRPA1 expressed in mouse dorsal root ganglion neurons and intraplantar injection of 10-30 mM 6-MSITC-evoked pain-related behaviors in mice. These results indicate the following: 1) 6-MSITC and 6-MTITC activate both mTRPA1 and hTRPA1; 2) 6-MSITC activates mTRPV1; and 3) the pharmacological functions of these isothiocyanates could be derived from TRPA1 activation.

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