TRPA1 underlies a sensing mechanism for O2

Nobuaki Takahashi, Tomoyuki Kuwaki, Shigeki Kiyonaka, Tomohiro Numata, Daisuke Kozai, Yusuke Mizuno, Shinichiro Yamamoto, Shinji Naito, Ellen Knevels, Peter Carmeliet, Toru Oga, Shuji Kaneko, Seiji Suga, Toshiki Nokami, Jun Ichi Yoshida, Yasuo Mori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

202 Citations (Scopus)


Oxygen (O 2) is a prerequisite for cellular respiration in aerobic organisms but also elicits toxicity. To understand how animals cope with the ambivalent physiological nature of O2, it is critical to elucidate the molecular mechanisms responsible for O2 sensing. Here our systematic evaluation of transient receptor potential (TRP) cation channels using reactive disulfides with different redox potentials reveals the capability of TRPA1 to sense O2. O2 sensing is based upon disparate processes: whereas prolyl hydroxylases (PHDs) exert O2-dependent inhibition on TRPA1 activity in normoxia, direct O2 action overrides the inhibition via the prominent sensitivity of TRPA1 to cysteine-mediated oxidation in hyperoxia. Unexpectedly, TRPA1 is activated through relief from the same PHD-mediated inhibition in hypoxia. In mice, disruption of the Trpa1 gene abolishes hyperoxia- and hypoxia-induced cationic currents in vagal and sensory neurons and thereby impedes enhancement of in vivo vagal discharges induced by hyperoxia and hypoxia. The results suggest a new O2-sensing mechanism mediated by TRPA1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)701-711
Number of pages11
JournalNature Chemical Biology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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