Single point mutations of aromatic residues in transmembrane helices 5 and -6 differentially affect TRPV4 activation by 4α-PDD and hypotonicity: Implications for the role of the pore region in regulating TRPV4 activity
The importance of the TRPV4 channel for human physiology has been highlighted in recent years with the identification of an increasing number of hereditary diseases associated with mutations of this channel. However, the functional understanding of TRPV4 associated pathologies remains a puzzle due to incomplete understanding of the polymodal regulation of TRPV4 channels and lack of insight into the structure-function relationship of the channel. In this work, we identified a series of highly conserved aromatic residues in transmembrane (TM) helices 5-6 with profound importance for TRPV4 activity. Substituting F617, Y621 or F624 in TM5 with leucine reduced channel sensitivity to the agonist 4α-PDD and heat, yet two of these mutants - F617L and Y621L - showed increased activation in response to cell swelling. In TM6, a Y702L mutation significantly reduced sensitivity to all of the above stimuli. In conclusion, we have identified residues in TM5-6 which differentially affect heat and agonist activation, and we have demonstrated distinct activation pathways for 4α-PDD and osmolarity.