Riluzole activates TRPC5 channels independently of PLC activity



Background and Purpose

The transient receptor potential channel C5 (TRPC5) is a Ca2+-permeable cation channel, which is predominantly expressed in the brain. TRPC5 is activated in a PLC-dependent manner by, as yet, unidentified endogenous messengers. Recently, modulators of TRPC5, like Ca2+, pH and phospholipids, have been identified. However, the role of TRPC5 in vivo is only poorly understood. Novel specific modulators of TRPC5 might help to elucidate its function.

Experimental Approach

Novel modulators of TRPC5 were identified in a compound screening of approved drugs and natural compounds. The potency and selectivity of TRPC5-activating compounds were determined by fluorometric calcium imaging. The biophysical properties of channel activation by these compounds were analysed using electrophysiological measurements.

Key Results

Riluzole was identified as a novel activator of TRPC5 (EC50 9.2 ± 0.5 μM) and its mechanism of action was shown to be independent of G protein signalling and PLC activity. Riluzole-induced TRPC5 currents were potentiated by La3+ and, utilizing TRPC5 mutants that lack La3+ binding sites, it was confirmed that riluzole and La3+ activate TRPC5 by different mechanisms. Recordings of excised inside-out patches revealed a relatively direct effect of riluzole on TRPC5.

Conclusions and Implications

Riluzole can activate TRPC5 heterologously expressed in HEK293 cells as well as those endogenously expressed in the U-87 glioblastoma cell line. Riluzole does not activate any other member of the TRPC family and could, therefore, despite its action on other ion channels, be a useful pharmacological tool for identifying TRPC5-specific currents in immortalized cell lines or in acutely isolated primary cells.