Cellular stimulation from the surrounding extracellular environment via receptors and other pathways evoke activation of Ca2+-permeable cation channels. An important clue to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying these receptor-activated cation channels (RACC) was first provided through molecular studies of the transient receptor potential (trp) protein (TRP), which controls light-induced deporlarization in Drosophila photoreceptor cells. Recent studies have revealed that these TRP channels are also activated by diverse stimuli such as heat, osmotic stress, and oxidative stress. Furthermore, involvement of TRP channels has been demonstrated in signaling pathways essential for biological responses, such as proliferation, differentiation, and cell death. These findings encourage usage of TRP channels and their signalplexes as powerful tools for the development of novel pharmaceutical targets.
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