The TRPV1 channel is a detector of noxious stimuli, including heat, acidosis, vanilloid compounds and lipids. The gating mechanisms of the related TRPV2 channel are poorly understood because selective high affinity ligands are not available, and the threshold for heat activation is extremely high (>50°C). Cryo-EM structures of TRPV1 and TRPV2 reveal that they adopt similar structures, and identify a putative vanilloid binding pocket near the internal side of TRPV1. Here we use biochemical and electrophysiological approaches to investigate the resiniferatoxin(RTx) binding site in TRPV1 and to explore the functional relationships between TRPV1 and TRPV2. Collectively, our results support the interaction of vanilloids with the proposed RTx binding pocket, and demonstrate an allosteric influence of a tarantula toxin on vanilloid binding. Moreover, we show that sensitivity to RTx can be engineered into TRPV2, demonstrating that the gating and permeation properties of this channel are similar to TRPV1.
Keywords: biophysics; capsicin; gating mechanism; neuroscience; rat; structural biology; temperature-sensing; thermosensing.