Analysis of transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) in frogs and lizards illuminates both nociceptive heat and chemical sensitivities and coexpression with TRP vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) in ancestral vertebrates.J Biol Chem. 2012 Aug 31; 287(36):30743-54.JB
Transient receptor potential ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) and TRP vanilloid 1 (V1) perceive noxious temperatures and chemical stimuli and are involved in pain sensation in mammals. Thus, these two channels provide a model for understanding how different genes with similar biological roles may influence the function of one another during the course of evolution. However, the temperature sensitivity of TRPA1 in ancestral vertebrates and its evolutionary path are unknown as its temperature sensitivities vary among different vertebrate species. To elucidate the functional evolution of TRPA1, TRPA1s of the western clawed (WC) frogs and green anole lizards were characterized. WC frog TRPA1 was activated by heat and noxious chemicals that activate mammalian TRPA1. These stimuli also activated native sensory neurons and elicited nocifensive behaviors in WC frogs. Similar to mammals, TRPA1 was functionally co-expressed with TRPV1, another heat- and chemical-sensitive nociceptive receptor, in native sensory neurons of the WC frog. Green anole TRPA1 was also activated by heat and noxious chemical stimulation. These results suggest that TRPA1 was likely a noxious heat and chemical receptor and co-expressed with TRPV1 in the nociceptive sensory neurons of ancestral vertebrates. Conservation of TRPV1 heat sensitivity throughout vertebrate evolution could have changed functional constraints on TRPA1 and influenced the functional evolution of TRPA1 regarding temperature sensitivity, whereas conserving its noxious chemical sensitivity. In addition, our results also demonstrated that two mammalian TRPA1 inhibitors elicited different effect on the TRPA1s of WC frogs and green anoles, which can be utilized to clarify the structural bases for inhibition of TRPA1.