TRPM5 is a voltage-modulated and Ca(2+)-activated monovalent selective cation channel

Curr Biol. 2003 Jul 1;13(13):1153-8. doi: 10.1016/s0960-9822(03)00431-7.


The TRPM subfamily of mammalian TRP channels displays unusually diverse activation mechanisms and selectivities. One member of this subfamily, TRPM5, functions in taste receptor cells and has been reported to be activated through G protein-coupled receptors linked to phospholipase C. However, the specific mechanisms regulating TRPM5 have not been described. Here, we demonstrate that TRPM5 is a monovalent-specific cation channel with a 23 pS unitary conductance. TRPM5 does not display constitutive activity. Rather, it is activated by stimulation of a receptor pathway coupled to phospholipase C and by IP(3)-mediated Ca(2+) release. Gating of TRPM5 was dependent on a rise in Ca(2+) because it was fully activated by Ca(2+). Unlike any previously described mammalian TRP channel, TRPM5 displayed voltage modulation and rapid activation and deactivation kinetics upon receptor stimulation. The most closely related protein, the Ca(2+)-activated monovalent-selective cation channel TRPM4b, also showed voltage modulation, although with slower relaxation kinetics than TRPM5. Taken together, the data demonstrate that TRPM5 and TRPM4b represent the first examples of voltage-modulated, Ca(2+)-activated, monovalent cation channels (VCAMs). The voltage modulation and rapid kinetics provide TRPM5 with an excellent set of properties for participating in signaling in taste receptors and other excitable cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cations, Monovalent / metabolism
  • Electrophysiology
  • Gene Expression
  • Ion Channels / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Phylogeny
  • Receptors, Histamine H1 / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*
  • TRPM Cation Channels
  • Taste Buds / metabolism*


  • Cations, Monovalent
  • Ion Channels
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Receptors, Histamine H1
  • TRPM Cation Channels
  • Trpm5 protein, mouse
  • Calcium