Conserved allosteric pathways for activation of TRPV3 revealed through engineering vanilloid-sensitivity

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The Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid 1 (TRPV) channel is activated by an array of stimuli, including heat and vanilloid compounds. The TRPV1 homologues TRPV2 and TRPV3 are also activated by heat, but sensitivity to vanilloids and many other agonists is not conserved among TRPV subfamily members. It was recently discovered that four mutations in TRPV2 are sufficient to render the channel sensitive to the TRPV1-specific vanilloid agonist resiniferatoxin (RTx). Here we show that mutation of six residues in TRPV3 corresponding to the vanilloid site in TRPV1 is sufficient to engineer RTx binding. However, robust activation of TRPV3 by RTx requires facilitation of channel opening by introducing individual mutations in the pore, temperatures > 30°C, or co-stimulation with another agonist. Our results demonstrate that the energetics of channel activation can determine the apparent sensitivity to a stimulus and suggest that allosteric pathways for activation are conserved in the TRPV family.

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