2017 Volume 93 Issue 7 Pages 464-482
Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) proteins form cation channels characterized by a wide variety of activation triggers. Here, we overview a group of TRP channels that respond to reactive redox species to transduce physiological signals, with a focus on TRPA1 and its role in oxygen physiology. Our systematic evaluation of oxidation sensitivity using cysteine-selective reactive disulphides with different redox potentials reveals that TRPA1 has the highest sensitivity to oxidants/electrophiles among the TRP channels, which enables it to sense O2. Proline hydroxylation by O2-dependent hydroxylases also regulates the O2-sensing function by inhibiting TRPA1 in normoxia; TRPA1 is activated by hypoxia through relief from the inhibition and by hyperoxia through cysteine oxidation that overrides the inhibition. TRPA1 enhances neuronal discharges induced by hyperoxia and hypoxia in the vagus to underlie respiratory adaptation to changes in O2 availability. This importance of TRPA1 in non-carotid body O2 sensors can be extended to the universal significance of redox-sensitive TRP channels in O2 adaptation.