TRP channels in mechanosensation: direct or indirect activation?

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2007 Jul;8(7):510-21. doi: 10.1038/nrn2149.


Ion channels of the transient receptor potential (TRP) superfamily are involved in a wide variety of neural signalling processes, most prominently in sensory receptor cells. They are essential for mechanosensation in systems ranging from fruitfly hearing, to nematode touch, to mouse mechanical pain. However, it is unclear in many instances whether a TRP channel directly transduces the mechanical stimulus or is part of a downstream signalling pathway. Here, we propose criteria for establishing direct mechanical activation of ion channels and review these criteria in a number of mechanosensory systems in which TRP channels are involved.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Ion Channel Gating / physiology
  • Mechanoreceptors / metabolism*
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular / physiology*
  • Models, Animal
  • Neurons, Afferent / metabolism
  • Neurons, Afferent / ultrastructure
  • Protein Subunits / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Touch / physiology
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels / classification
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels / genetics
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels / metabolism*


  • Protein Subunits
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels