TRPV4 as osmosensor: a transgenic approach.
The transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 (TRPV4) ion channel was named initially vanilloid-receptor-related osmotically activated channel (VR-OAC). Preliminary answers to the question, "What is the function of the trpv4 gene in live animals ?" are highlighted briefly in this review. In trpv4 null mice, TRPV4 is necessary for the maintenance of osmotic equilibrium, and in Caenorhabditis elegans transgenic for mammalian TRPV4, TRPV4 directs the osmotic avoidance response in the context of the ASH "nociceptive" neuron. The molecular mechanisms of gating of TRPV4 in vivo need to be determined; in particular, whether TRPV4 in live animals is gated via phosphorylation of defined amino-acid residues or more directly through the osmotic stimulus itself.
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