Evolutionarily conserved, multitasking TRP channels: Lessons from worms and flies

Kartik Venkatachalam, Junjie Luo, Craig Montell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

29 Scopus citations


The Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channel family is comprised of a large group of cation-permeable channels, which display an extraordinary diversity of roles in sensory signaling. TRPs allow animals to detect chemicals, mechanical force, light, and changes in temperature. Consequently, these channels control a plethora of animal behaviors. Moreover, their functions are not limited to the classical senses, as they are cellular sensors, which are critical for ionic homeostasis and metabolism. Two genetically tractable invertebrate model organisms, Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster, have led the way in revealing a wide array of sensory roles and behaviors that depend on TRP channels. Two overriding themes have emerged from these studies. First, TRPs are multitasking proteins, and second, many functions and modes of activation of these channels are evolutionarily conserved, including some that were formerly thought to be unique to invertebrates, such as phototransduction. Thus, worms and flies offer the potential to decipher roles for mammalian TRPs, which would otherwise not be suspected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Experimental Pharmacology
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)9783319051604
StatePublished - 2014

Publication series

NameHandbook of Experimental Pharmacology
ISSN (Print)01712004
ISSN (Electronic)18650325


  • Chemosensation
  • Courtship
  • Disease models
  • Drosophila TRP channels
  • Invertebrate TRP channels
  • Mechanosensation
  • Nociception
  • Sensory transduction
  • Thermosensation
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
  • Biochemistry


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