Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) proteins are non-selective cation channels performing diverse cellular functions. TRPV1 and TRPV4, two calcium-permeable channels of the vanilloid subfamily of TRP proteins, are activated by various physical and chemical stimuli, including noxious heat and mechanical stress, respectively. These channels are also required for exaggerated sensation of painful stimuli, condition referred to as hyperalgesia, which is frequently associated with inflammation. Phosphorylation of TRPV1, involving Protein Kinase C (PKC) and Protein Kinase A (PKA), appears to be the predominant mechanism for channel sensitization and development of heat hyperalgesia. PKC and PKA pathways have also been implicated in the sensitization of TRPV4, but the respective phosphorylation sites remain unknown. Using mass spectrometry, we report now that TRPV4 is phosphorylated on serine 824 by the PKC-activating phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate. This phosphorylation is prevented by a PKC inhibitor, confirming the involvement of PKC. Ser824, located in the carboxy-terminal cytosolic tail of TRPV4, is also phosphorylated after activation of the PKA pathway by forskolin, albeit less potently. Substitution of Ser824 with aspartic acid, mimicking phosphorylation at this site, increased TRPV4-mediated calcium influx in resting and in stimulated cells, underlining the importance of this residue in TRPV4 regulation. Thus PKC, and possibly PKA, phosphorylate TRPV4 at Ser824 leading to the enhancement of TRPV4 channel function. Our findings suggest an important role of this phosphorylation in TRPV4 sensitization and the development of hyperalgesia.
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