There is a subgroup of transient receptor potential (TRP) ion channels that are responsive to temperature (thermo-TRP channels). These are important to a variety of sensory and physiological phenomena such as pain and taste perception. All thermo-TRP channels known to date are subject to modulation by lipidic molecules of many kinds, from the ubiquitous cholesterol to more specialized molecules such as prostaglandins. Although the mechanisms and sites of binding of lipids on thermo-TRPs are largely unknown, the explosion on research of lipids and ion channels has revealed previously unsuspected roles for them. Diacyl glycerol is a lipid produced by phospholipase C (PLC) and it was discovered to modulate TRP channels in the eye of the fly, and many mammal TRP channels have been found to interact with lipids. While most of the lipids acting on thermo-TRP channels have been found to activate them, there are a few capable of inhibition. Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate is even capable of both inhibition and activation on a couple of thermo-TRPs, depending on the cellular context. More data is required to assess the mechanism through which lipids affect thermo-TRP channel activity and the physiological importance of this interaction.
Keywords: Ion channels; Lipids; Lysophospholipids; Steroids; TRP channels; Thermal sensors.