Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology vol:2 issue:10 pages:a003962
The 28 mammalian members of the super-family of transient receptor potential (TRP) channels are cation channels, mostly permeable to both monovalent and divalent cations, and can be subdivided into six main subfamilies: the TRPC (canonical), TRPV (vanilloid), TRPM (melastatin), TRPP (polycystin), TRPML (mucolipin), and the TRPA (ankyrin) groups. TRP channels are widely expressed in a large number of different tissues and cell types, and their biological roles appear to be equally diverse. In general, considered as polymodal cell sensors, they play a much more diverse role than anticipated. Functionally, TRP channels, when activated, cause cell depolarization, which may trigger a plethora of voltage-dependent ion channels. Upon stimulation, Ca2+ permeable TRP channels generate changes in the intracellular Ca2+ concentration, [Ca2+]i, by Ca2+ entry via the plasma membrane. However, more and more evidence is arising that TRP channels are also located in intracellular organelles and serve as intracellular Ca2+ release channels. This review focuses on three major tasks of TRP channels: (1) the function of TRP channels as Ca2+ entry channels; (2) the electrogenic actions of TRPs; and (3) TRPs as Ca2+ release channels in intracellular organelles.