Pflügers Archiv: European Journal of Physiology vol:464 issue:5 pages:425-458
The Transient Receptor Potential Ankyrin 1 channel (TRPA1), is a member of the large TRP family of ion channels, and functions as a Ca(2+) permeable non-selective cation channel in many different cell processes, ranging from sensory to homeostatic tasks. TRPA1 is highly conserved across the animal kingdom. The only mammalian TRPA subfamily member, TRPA1, is widely expressed in neuronal (e.g. sensory dorsal root and trigeminal ganglia neurons)- and in non-neuronal cells (e.g. epithelial cells, hair cells). It exhibits 14-19 amino-(N-)terminal ankyrin repeats, an unusual structural feature. The TRPA1 channel is activated by noxious cold (<17 °C) as well as by a plethora of chemical compounds that includes not only electrophilic compounds and oxidants that can modify, in an alkylative or oxidative fashion, nucleophilic cysteine residues in the channel's N-terminus, but also compounds that do not covalently bind to the channel proteins (e.g. menthol, nifedipin). Based on localization and functional properties, TRPA1 is considered a key player in acute and chronic (neuropathic) pain and inflammation. Moreover, its role in the (patho)physiology of nearly all organ systems is anticipated, and will be discussed along with the potential of TRPA1 as a drug target for the management of various pathological conditions.