Osmosensitivity of transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 is synergistically enhanced by distinct activating stimuli such as temperature and protons

Eri Nishihara, Takeshi Y. Hiyama, Masaharu Noda

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30 Citations (Scopus)


In animals, body-fluid osmolality is continuously monitored to keep it within a narrow range around a set point (~300 mOsm/kg). Transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1), a cation channel, has been implicated in body-fluid homeostasis in vivo based on studies with the TRPV1-knockout mouse. However, the response of TRPV1 to hypertonic stimuli has not been demonstrated with heterologous expression systems so far, despite intense efforts by several groups. Thus, the molecular entity of the hypertonic sensor in vivo still remains controversial. Here we found that the full-length form of TRPV1 is sensitive to an osmotic increase exclusively at around body temperature using HEK293 cells stably expressing rat TRPV1. At an ambient temperature of 24°C, a slight increase in the intracellular calcium concentration ([Ca 2+] i) was rarely observed in response to hypertonic stimuli. However, the magnitude of the osmosensitive response markedly increased with temperature, peaking at around 36°C. Importantly, the response at 36°C showed a robust increase over a hypertonic range, but a small decrease over a hypotonic range. A TRPV1 antagonist, capsazepine, and a nonspecific TRP channel inhibitor, ruthenium red, completely blocked the increase in [Ca 2+] i. These results endorse the view that the full-length form of TRPV1 is able to function as a sensor of hypertonic stimuli in vivo. Furthermore, we found that protons and capsaicin likewise synergistically potentiated the response of TRPV1 to hypertonic stimuli. Of note, HgCl 2, which blocks aquaporins and inhibits cell-volume changes, significantly reduced the osmosensitive response. Our findings thus indicate that TRPV1 integrates multiple different types of activating stimuli, and that TRPV1 is sensitive to hypertonic stimuli under physiologically relevant conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere22246
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 19 2011
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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