PubMed 23478802

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: TRP , TRPA , TRPA1

Title: Benzoquinone reveals a cysteine-dependent desensitization mechanism of TRPA1.

Authors: Yessenia Ibarra, Nathaniel T Blair

Journal, date & volume: Mol. Pharmacol., 2013 May , 83, 1120-32

PubMed link:

The transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) nonselective cation channel has a conserved function as a noxious chemical sensor throughout much of Metazoa. Electrophilic chemicals activate both insect and vertebrate TRPA1 via covalent modification of cysteine residues in the amino-terminal region. Although naturally occurring electrophilic plant compounds, such as mustard oil and cinnamaldehyde, are TRPA1 agonists, it is unknown whether arthropod-produced electrophiles activate mammalian TRPA1. We characterized the effects of the electrophilic arthropod defensive compound para-benzoquinone (pBQN) on the human TRPA1 channel. We used whole-cell recordings of human embryonic kidney cells heterologously expressing either wild-type TRPA1 or TRPA1 with three serine-substituted cysteines crucial for electrophile activation (C621S, C641S, C665S). We found that pBQN activates TRPA1 starting at 10 nM and peaking at 300 nM; higher concentrations caused rapid activation followed by a fast decline. Activation by pBQN required reactivity with cysteine residues, but ones that are distinct from those previously reported to be the key targets of electrophiles. The current reduction we found at higher pBQN concentrations was a cysteine-dependent desensitization of TRPA1, and did not require prior activation. The cysteines required for desensitization are not accessible to all electrophiles as iodoacetamide and internally applied 2-(trimethylammonium)ethyl methanesulfonate failed to cause desensitization (despite large activation). Interestingly, following pBQN desensitization, wild-type TRPA1 had dramatically reduced response to the nonelectrophile agonist carvacrol, whereas the triple cysteine mutant TRPA1 retained its full response. Our results suggest that modification of multiple cysteine residues by electrophilic compounds can generate both activation and desensitization of the TRPA1 channel.