The role of π-helices in TRP channel gating

Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2019 Oct;58:314-323. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2019 Aug 2.


Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels are a large superfamily of polymodal ion channels, which perform important roles in numerous physiological processes. The architecture of their transmembrane (TM) domains closely resembles that of voltage-gated potassium channels (KV). However, recent cryoEM and crystallographic studies of TRP channels have identified π-helices in functionally important regions, and it is increasingly recognized that they utilize a distinct mechanism of gating that relies on α-to-π secondary structure transitions. Here we review our current understanding of the role of π-helices in TRP channel function and their broader impact on different classes of ion channels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Humans
  • Ion Channel Gating*
  • Protein Conformation, alpha-Helical
  • TRPC Cation Channels / chemistry*
  • TRPC Cation Channels / metabolism*


  • TRPC Cation Channels