American journal of physiology. Renal physiology

A mutation in TRPC6 channels abolishes their activation by hypoosmotic stretch but does not affect activation by diacylglycerol or G protein signaling cascades.

PMID 24598806


Canonical transient receptor potential-6 (TRPC6) channels have been implicated in the pathogenesis of kidney disease and in the regulation of vascular smooth muscle tone, podocyte function, and a variety of processes in other cell types. The question of whether their gating is intrinsically mechanosensitive has been controversial. In this study we have examined activation of two alleles of TRPC6 transiently expressed in CHO-K1 cells: the wild-type human TRPC6 channel, and TRPC6-N143S, an allele originally identified in a family with autosomal dominant familial focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). We observed that both channel variants carried robust cationic currents that could be evoked by application of membrane-permeable analogs of diacylglycerol (DAG) or by the P2Y receptor agonist ATP. The amplitudes and characteristics of currents evoked by the DAG analog or ATP were indistinguishable in cells expressing the two TRPC6 alleles. By contrast, hypoosmotic stretch evoked robust currents in wild-type TRPC6 channels but had no discernible effect on currents in cells expressing TRPC6-N143S, indicating that the mutant form lacks mechanosensitivity. Coexpression of TRPC6-N143S with wild-type TRPC6 or TRPC3 channels did not alter stretch-evoked responses compared with when TRPC3 channels were expressed by themselves, indicating that TRPC6-N143S does not function as a dominant-negative. These data indicate that mechanical activation and activation evoked by DAG or ATP occur through fundamentally distinct biophysical mechanisms, and they provide support for the hypothesis that protein complexes containing wild-type TRPC6 subunits can be intrinsically mechanosensitive.