Heat activation mechanism of TRPV1: New insights from molecular dynamics simulation.
ABSTRACT: As a member of the transient receptor potential (TRP) channels superfamily, the TRPV1 channel undergoes a closed-to-open gating transition in response to various physical and chemical stimuli including heat. Thanks to recent progress in cryo-electron microscopy, high-resolution structures are becoming available for various TRP channels including TRPV1. This has enabled us to study the molecular mechanism of TRPV1 channel gating by using molecular simulation. Here we review recent progress in molecular simulations of TRPV1 channel by us and others, with focus on our molecular dynamics (MD) simulations of TRPV1 at different temperatures. While no consensus has been reached on the heat activation mechanism of TRPV1, the simulations have offered specific predictions and models for future experimental studies to test.
Project description:As a prototype cellular sensor, the TRPV1 cation channel undergoes a closed-to-open gating transition in response to various physical and chemical stimuli including noxious heat. Despite recent progress, the molecular mechanism of heat activation of TRPV1 gating remains enigmatic. Toward decrypting the structural basis of TRPV1 heat activation, we performed extensive molecular dynamics simulations (with cumulative simulation time of ?11 ?s) for the wild-type channel and a constitutively active double mutant at different temperatures (30, 60, and 72°C), starting from a high-resolution closed-channel structure of TRPV1 solved by cryo-electron microscopy. In the wild-type simulations, we observed heat-activated conformational changes (e.g., expansion or contraction) in various key domains of TRPV1 (e.g., the S2-S3 and S4-S5 linkers) to prime the channel for gating. These conformational changes involve a number of dynamic hydrogen-bond interactions that were validated with previous mutational studies. Next, our mutant simulations observed channel opening after a series of conformational changes that propagate from the channel periphery to the channel pore via key intermediate domains (including the S2-S3 and S4-S5 linkers). The gating transition is accompanied by a large increase in the protein-water electrostatic interaction energy, which supports the contribution of desolvation of polar/charged residues to the temperature-sensitive TRPV1 gating. Taken together, our molecular dynamics simulations and analyses offered, to our knowledge, new structural, dynamic, and energetic information to guide future mutagenesis and functional studies of the TRPV1 channels and development of TRPV1-targeting drugs.
Project description:Temperature-activated TRP channels or thermoTRPs are among the only proteins that can directly convert temperature changes into changes in channel open probability. In spite of a wealth of functional and structural information, the mechanism of temperature activation remains unknown. We have carefully characterized the repeated activation of TRPV1 by thermal stimuli and discovered a previously unknown inactivation process, which is irreversible. We propose that this form of gating in TRPV1 channels is a consequence of the heat absorption process that leads to channel opening.
Project description:The transient receptor potential (TRP) channels act as key sensors of various chemical and physical stimuli in eukaryotic cells. Despite years of study, the molecular mechanisms of TRP channel activation remain unclear. To elucidate the structural, dynamic, and energetic basis of gating in TRPV1 (a founding member of the TRPV subfamily), we performed coarse-grained modeling and all-atom molecular dynamics (MD) simulation based on the recently solved high resolution structures of the open and closed form of TRPV1. Our coarse-grained normal mode analysis captures two key modes of collective motions involved in the TRPV1 gating transition, featuring a quaternary twist motion of the transmembrane domains (TMDs) relative to the intracellular domains (ICDs). Our transition pathway modeling predicts a sequence of structural movements that propagate from the ICDs to the TMDs via key interface domains (including the membrane proximal domain and the C-terminal domain), leading to sequential opening of the selectivity filter followed by the lower gate in the channel pore (confirmed by modeling conformational changes induced by the activation of ICDs). The above findings of coarse-grained modeling are robust to perturbation by lipids. Finally, our MD simulation of the ICD identifies key residues that contribute differently to the nonpolar energy of the open and closed state, and these residues are predicted to control the temperature sensitivity of TRPV1 gating. These computational predictions offer new insights to the mechanism for heat activation of TRPV1 gating, and will guide our future electrophysiology and mutagenesis studies.
Project description:Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels are polymodal signal detectors that respond to a wide range of physical and chemical stimuli. Elucidating how these channels integrate and convert physiological signals into channel opening is essential to understanding how they regulate cell excitability under normal and pathophysiological conditions. Here we exploit pharmacological probes (a peptide toxin and small vanilloid agonists) to determine structures of two activated states of the capsaicin receptor, TRPV1. A domain (consisting of transmembrane segments 1-4) that moves during activation of voltage-gated channels remains stationary in TRPV1, highlighting differences in gating mechanisms for these structurally related channel superfamilies. TRPV1 opening is associated with major structural rearrangements in the outer pore, including the pore helix and selectivity filter, as well as pronounced dilation of a hydrophobic constriction at the lower gate, suggesting a dual gating mechanism. Allosteric coupling between upper and lower gates may account for rich physiological modulation exhibited by TRPV1 and other TRP channels.
Project description:Toxins have evolved to target regions of membrane ion channels that underlie ligand binding, gating, or ion permeation, and have thus served as invaluable tools for probing channel structure and function. Here, we describe a peptide toxin from the Earth Tiger tarantula that selectively and irreversibly activates the capsaicin- and heat-sensitive channel, TRPV1. This high-avidity interaction derives from a unique tandem repeat structure of the toxin that endows it with an antibody-like bivalency. The "double-knot" toxin traps TRPV1 in the open state by interacting with residues in the presumptive pore-forming region of the channel, highlighting the importance of conformational changes in the outer pore region of TRP channels during activation.
Project description:The capsaicin receptor, TRPV1, is regulated by phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate (PIP(2)), although the precise nature of this effect (i.e., positive or negative) remains controversial. Here, we reconstitute purified TRPV1 into artificial liposomes, where it is gated robustly by capsaicin, protons, spider toxins, and, notably, heat, demonstrating intrinsic sensitivity of the channel to both chemical and thermal stimuli. TRPV1 is fully functional in the absence of phosphoinositides, arguing against their proposed obligatory role in channel activation. Rather, introduction of various phosphoinositides, including PIP(2), PI4P, and phosphatidylinositol, inhibits TRPV1, supporting a model whereby phosphoinositide turnover contributes to thermal hyperalgesia by disinhibiting the channel. Using an orthogonal chemical strategy, we show that association of the TRPV1 C terminus with the bilayer modulates channel gating, consistent with phylogenetic data implicating this domain as a key regulatory site for tuning stimulus sensitivity. Beyond TRPV1, these findings are relevant to understanding how membrane lipids modulate other "receptor-operated" TRP channels.
Project description:Transient receptor potential vanilloid receptor subtype 1 (TRPV1) is an ionotropic receptor activated by temperature and chemical stimuli. The C-terminal region that is adjacent to the channel gate, recognized as the TRP domain, is a molecular determinant of receptor assembly. However, the role of this intracellular domain in channel function remains elusive. Here, we show that replacement of the TRP domain of TRPV1 with the cognate region of TRPV channels (TRPV2-TRPV6) did not affect receptor assembly and trafficking to the cell surface, although those receptors containing the TRP domain of the distantly related TRPV5 and TRPV6 did not display ion channel activity. Notably, functional chimeras exhibited an impaired sensitivity to the activating stimuli, consistent with a significant contribution of this protein domain to channel function. At variance with TRPV1, voltage-dependent gating of chimeric channels could not be detected in the absence of capsaicin and/or heat. Biophysical analysis of functional chimeras revealed that the TRP domain appears to act as a molecular determinant of the activation energy of channel gating. Together, these findings uncover a role of the TRP domain in intersubunit interactions near the channel gate that contribute to the coupling of stimulus sensing to channel opening.
Project description:TRPV1 is the founding and best-studied member of the family of temperature-activated transient receptor potential ion channels (thermoTRPs). Voltage, chemicals and heat allosterically gate TRPV1. Molecular determinants of TRPV1 activation by capsaicin, allicin, acid, ammonia and voltage have been identified. However, the structures and mechanisms mediating TRPV1's pronounced temperature sensitivity remain unclear. Recent studies of the related channel TRPV3 identified residues in the pore region that are required for heat activation. We used both random and targeted mutagenesis screens of rat TRPV1 and identified point mutations in the outer pore region that specifically impair temperature activation. Single-channel analysis indicated that TRPV1 mutations disrupted heat sensitivity by ablating long channel openings, which are part of the temperature-gating pathway. We propose that sequential occupancy of short and long open states on activation provides a mechanism for enhancing temperature sensitivity. Our results suggest that the outer pore is important for the heat sensitivity of thermoTRPs.
Project description:Transient receptor potential vanilloid subtype I (TRPV1) is a thermosensory ion channel that is also gated by chemical substances such as vanilloids. Adjacent to the channel gate, this polymodal thermoTRP channel displays a TRP domain, referred to as AD1, that plays a role in subunit association and channel gating. Previous studies have shown that swapping the AD1 in TRPV1 with the cognate from the TRPV2 channel (AD2) reduces protein expression and produces a nonfunctional chimeric channel (TRPV1-AD2). Here, we used a stepwise, sequential, cumulative site-directed mutagenesis approach, based on rebuilding the AD1 domain in the TRPV1-AD2 chimera, to unveil the minimum number of amino acids needed to restore protein expression and polymodal channel activity. Unexpectedly, we found that virtually full restitution of the AD1 sequence is required to reinstate channel expression and responses to capsaicin, temperature, and voltage. This strategy identified E692, R701, and T704 in the TRP domain as important for TRPV1 activity. Even conservative mutagenesis at these sites (E692D/R701K/T704S) impaired channel expression and abolished TRPV1 activity. However, the sole mutation of these positions in the TRPV1-AD2 chimera (D692E/K701R/S704T) was not sufficient to rescue channel gating, implying that other residues in the TRP domain are necessary to endow activity to TRPV1-AD2. A biophysical analysis of a functional chimera suggested that mutations in the TRP domain raised the energetics of channel gating by altering the coupling of stimuli sensing and pore opening. These findings indicate that inter- and/or intrasubunit interactions in the TRP domain are essential for correct TRPV1 gating.