A novel mode of TRPML3 regulation by extracytosolic pH absent in the varitint-waddler phenotype

EMBO J. 2008 Apr 23;27(8):1197-205. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2008.56. Epub 2008 Mar 27.


TRPML3 belongs to the TRPML subfamily of the transient receptor potential (TRP) channels. The A419P mutation in TRPML3 causes the varitint-waddler phenotype as a result of gain-of-function mutation (GOF). Regulation of the channels and the mechanism by which the A419P mutation leads to GOF are not known. We report here that TRPML3 is a Ca(2+)-permeable channel with a unique form of regulation by extracytosolic (luminal) H(+) (H(+)(e-cyto)). Regulation by H(+)(e-cyto) is mediated by a string of three histidines (H252, H273, H283) in the large extracytosolic loop between transmembrane domains (TMD) 1 and 2. Each of the histidines has a unique role, whereby H252 and H273 retard access of H(+)(e-cyto) to the inhibitory H283. Notably, the H283A mutation has the same phenotype as A419P and locks the channel in an open state, whereas the H283R mutation inactivates the channel. Accordingly, A419P eliminates regulation of TRPML3 by H(+)(e-cyto), and confers full activation to TRPML3(H283R). Activation of TRPML3 and regulation by H(+)(e-cyto) are altered by both the alpha-helix-destabilizing A419G and the alpha-helix-favouring A419M and A419K. These findings suggest that regulation of TRPML3 by H(+)(e-cyto) is due to an effect of the large extracytosolic loop on the orientation of fifth TMD and thus pore opening and show that the GOF of TRPML3(A419P) is due to disruption of this communication.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Substitution / genetics
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Cytosol / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Mucolipidoses / genetics
  • Mucolipidoses / metabolism
  • Phenotype*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels / chemistry
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels / genetics
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels / metabolism*


  • MCOLN3 protein, human
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels
  • Calcium