The transient receptor potential (TRP) family of ion channels is constituted by several nonselective cation channels that are activated by diverse stimuli and that function as polymodal receptors. TRP ion channels are expressed in neural and nonneural tissues where they play important roles in cell physiology. The activation of these ion channels is achieved through changes in temperature, osmolarity, voltage, pH, pressure, and by some natural or synthetic chemical compounds that directly bind to these proteins to regulate their activity. Other compounds that regulate TRP ion channel function are some endogenously synthetized lipid compounds. One such example of a compound of lipidic nature, commonly found in cells, is cholesterol. Cholesterol has been shown to exert positive and negative roles on TRP ion channel activity, albeit through different mechanisms which include a direct interaction of this molecule with specific amino acids located in the sequence of these channels or through the recruitment of the channels into specialized membrane microdomains (lipid rafts or caveolae). In this chapter, we will discuss important aspects of cholesterol as a regulator of some members of the TRP family of ion channels, and we will highlight the role of cholesterol on thermo-, chemo-, and osmosensation through regulation of the activity of these proteins.
Última actualización: 16/11/2018