TRPA1 is a member of the transient receptor potential (TRP) cation channel family, and is predominantly expressed in nociceptive neurons of dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and trigeminal ganglia. Activation of TRPA1 by environmental irritants such as mustard oil, allicin and acrolein causes acute pain. However, the endogenous ligands that directly activate TRPA1 remain elusive in inflammation. Here, we show that a variety of inflammatory mediators (15-deoxy-Delta(12,14)-prostaglandin J(2) (15d-PGJ(2)), nitric oxide (NO), hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)), and proton (H(+))) activate human TRPA1 heterologously expressed in HEK cells. These inflammatory mediators induced robust Ca(2+) influx in a subset of mouse DRG neurons. The TRP channel blocker ruthenium red almost completely inhibited neuronal responses by 15d-PGJ(2) and NO, but partially suppressed responses to H(2)O(2) and H(+). Functional characterization of site-directed cysteine mutants of TRPA1 in combination with labeling experiments using biotinylated 15d-PGJ(2) demonstrated that modifications of cytoplasmic N-terminal cysteines (Cys421 and Cys621) were responsible for the activation of TRPA1 by 15d-PGJ(2). In TRPA1 responses to other cysteine-reactive inflammatory mediators, such as NO and H(2)O(2), the extent of impairment by respective cysteine mutations differed from those in TRPA1 responses to 15d-PGJ(2). Interestingly, the Cys421 mutation critically impaired the TRPA1 response to H(+) as well. Our findings suggest that TRPA1 channels are targeted by an array of inflammatory mediators to elicit inflammatory pain in the nervous system.