Authors: Voets T1, Talavera K, Owsianik G, Nilius B.
Source: Nature Chemical Biology 1, 85 – 92 (2005)
Drosophila melanogaster flies carrying the trp (transient receptor potential) mutation are rapidly blinded by bright light, because of the absence of a Ca2+-permeable ion channel in their photoreceptors. The identification of the trp gene and the search for homologs in yeast, flies, worms, zebrafish and mammals has led to the discovery of a large superfamily of related cation channels, named TRP channels. Activation of TRP channels is highly sensitive to a variety of chemical and physical stimuli, allowing them to function as dedicated biological sensors that are essential in processes such as vision, taste, tactile sensation and hearing.