TRPM5 is a voltage-modulated and Ca2+-activated monovalent selective cation channel

Thomas Hofmann, Vladimir Chubanov, Thomas Gudermann, Craig Montell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

300 Scopus citations


The TRPM subfamily of mammalian TRP channels displays unusually diverse activation mechanisms and selectivities [1]. One member of this subfamily, TRPM5, functions in taste receptor cells and has been reported to be activated through G protein-coupled receptors linked to phospholipase C [2, 3]. However, the specific mechanisms regulating TRPM5 have not been described. Here, we demonstrate that TRPM5 is a monovalent-specific cation channel with a 23 pS unitary conductance. TRPM5 does not display constitutive activity. Rather, it is activated by stimulation of a receptor pathway coupled to phospholipase C and by IP3-mediated Ca2+ release. Gating of TRPM5 was dependent on a rise in Ca2+ because it was fully activated by Ca2+. Unlike any previously described mammalian TRP channel, TRPM5 displayed voltage modulation and rapid activation and deactivation kinetics upon receptor stimulation. The most closely related protein, the Ca2+-activated monovalent-selective cation channel TRPM4b, also showed voltage modulation, although with slower relaxation kinetics than TRPM5. Taken together, the data demonstrate that TRPM5 and TRPM4b represent the first examples of voltage-modulated, Ca2+-activated, monovalent cation channels (VCAMs). The voltage modulation and rapid kinetics provide TRPM5 with an excellent set of properties for participating in signaling in taste receptors and other excitable cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1153-1158
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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