Structure of the thermo-sensitive TRP channel TRP1 from the alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

Nat Commun. 2019 Sep 13;10(1):4180. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-12121-9.


Algae produce the largest amount of oxygen on earth and are invaluable for human nutrition and biomedicine, as well as for the chemical industry, energy production and agriculture. The mechanisms by which algae can detect and respond to changes in their environments can rely on membrane receptors, including TRP ion channels. Here we present a 3.5-Å resolution cryo-EM structure of the transient receptor potential (TRP) channel crTRP1 from the alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii that opens in response to increased temperature and is positively regulated by the membrane lipid PIP2. The structure of crTRP1 significantly deviates from the structures of other TRP channels and has a unique 2-fold symmetrical rose-shape architecture with elbow domains and ankyrin repeat domains submerged and dipping into the membrane, respectively. Our study provides a structure of a TRP channel from a micro-organism and a structural framework for better understanding algae biology and TRP channel evolution.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ankyrin Repeat / genetics
  • Ankyrin Repeat / physiology
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / genetics
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii / metabolism*
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Structure, Secondary
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels / genetics
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels / metabolism*


  • Plant Proteins
  • Transient Receptor Potential Channels