MICROSCOPY Vol.46▶No.4 2011
■Feature Articles: Advances in Somatosensory Research

TRP Channels and Sensing Function―Focusing on Thermosensation―

Makoto Tominaga

Abstract: Most of living things on the earth survive by detecting ambient temperatures and adapting their changes. Among the molecules involved in the ambient temperature detection, thermosensitive transient receptor potential (TRP) channels are conserved from insects to mammals. Nine thermosensitive TRP channels are known in mammals and they detect wide-range of temperature changes from cold to hot. Temperatures above 43℃ and below 15℃ are believed to cause pain in our body, and accordingly some of the thermosensitive can be viewed as nociceptive receptors. How temperature opens the TRP channels still remain unknown. Crystal structures of the thermosensitive TRP channels are not clarified, and single particle analysis data with cryoEM were reported in some channels.

Key words: nociception, thermosensation, TRP channels