Functional role of TRPC proteins in native systems: implications from knockout and knock-down studies


  • This report was presented at The Journal of Physiology Symposium on TRP channels: physiological genomics and proteomics, San Diego, CA, USA, 5 April 2005. It was commissioned by the Editorial Board and reflects the views of the authors.

Corresponding author M. Freichel: Experimentelle und Klinische Pharmakologie und Toxikologie, Universität des Saarlandes, D 66421 Homburg, Germany. Email:


Available data on transient receptor potential channel (TRPC) protein functions indicate that these proteins represent essential constituents of agonist-activated and phospholipase C-dependent cation entry pathways in primary cells which contribute to the elevation of cytosolic Ca2+. In addition, a striking number of biological functions have already been assigned to the various TRPC proteins, including mechanosensing activity (TRPC1), chemotropic axon guidance (TRPC1 and TRPC3), pheromone sensing and the regulation of sexual and social behaviour (TRPC2), endothelial-dependent regulation of vascular tone, endothelial permeability and neurotransmitter release (TRPC4), axonal growth (TRPC5), modulation of smooth muscle tone in blood vessels and lung and regulation of podocyte structure and function in the kidney (TRPC6). The lack of compounds which specifically block or activate TRPC proteins impairs the analysis of TRPC function in primary cells. We therefore concentrate in this contribution on (i) studies of TRPC-deficient mouse lines, (ii) data obtained by gene-silencing approaches using antisense oligonucleotides or RNA interference, (iii) expression experiments employing dominant negative TRPC constructs, and (iv) recent data correlating mutations of TRPC genes associated with human disease.