Yeast screens show aromatic residues at the end of the sixth helix anchor transient receptor potential channel gate

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Sep 25;104(39):15555-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0704039104. Epub 2007 Sep 18.


Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels are first elements in sensing chemicals, heat, and force and are widespread among protists and fungi as well as animals. Despite their importance, the arrangement and roles of the amino acids that constitute the TRP channel gate are unknown. The yeast TRPY1 is activated in vivo by osmotically induced vacuolar membrane deformation and by cytoplasmic Ca(2+). After a random mutagenesis, we isolated TRPY1 mutants that responded more strongly to mild osmotic upshocks. One such gain-of-function mutant has a Y458H substitution at the C terminus of the predicted sixth transmembrane helix. Direct patch-clamp examination of vacuolar membranes showed that Y458H channels were already active with little stimulus and showed marked flickers between the open and intraburst closed states. They remained responsive to membrane stretch force and to Ca(2+), indicating primary defects in the gate region but not in the sensing of gating principles. None of the other 18 amino acid replacements engineered here showed normal channel kinetics except the two aromatic substitutions, Y458F and Y458W. The Y458 of TRPY1 has its aromatic counterpart in mammalian TRPM. Furthermore, conserved aromatics one alpha-helical turn downstream from this point are also found in animal TRPC, TRPN, TRPP, and TRPML, suggesting that gate anchoring with aromatics may be common among many TRP channels. The possible roles of aromatics at the end of the sixth transmembrane helix are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Electrophysiology / methods
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation*
  • Osmosis
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Species Specificity
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels / chemistry*
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels / metabolism


  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels
  • Calcium