Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) cation channels participate in several processes of vital importance in cell and organism physiology, and have been demonstrated to participate in the detection of sensory stimuli. The thermo TRPs reviewed: TRPV1 (vanilloid 1), TRPM8 (melastatin 8) and TRPA1 (ankyrin-like 1) are known to integrate different chemical and physical stimuli such as changes in temperature and sensing different irritant or pungent compounds. However, despite the physiological importance of these channels the mechanisms by which they detect incoming stimuli, how the sensing domains are coupled to channel gating and how these processes are connected to specific structural regions in the channel are not fully understood, but valuable information is available. Many sites involved in agonist detection have been characterized and gating models that describe many features of the channels behavior have been put forward. In this review we will survey some of the key findings concerning the structural and molecular mechanisms of TRPV1, TRPA1 and TRPM8 activation.
Keywords: Activation gate, ion channels, TRP channels, TRPA1, TRPM8, TRPV1, cation channels, cell and organism physiology, sensory stimuli, sensing different irritant or pungent compounds, agonist detection, structural and molecular mechanisms of TRPV1, TRPA1 and TRPM8 activation, channel gating, TRP channel malfunction, autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD)
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