PerspectiveStructural Biology

TRPM channels come into focus

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Science  12 Jan 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6372, pp. 160-161
DOI: 10.1126/science.aar6205

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Transient receptor potential (TRP) channels were first identified in photoreceptors of the fruit fly (1, 2). In mammals, six major families of TRP channels play key roles in sensing stimuli such as light, temperature, membrane lipids, and intracellular Ca2+. In 2013, two landmark publications revealed the cryo–electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structure of the heat- and capsaicin-activated TRPV1 channel (3, 4). Two articles in this issue report cryo-EM structures of cation-selective TRPM channels. On page 228, Autzen et al. (5) describe TRPM4, which is activated by intracellular Ca2+ and involved in controlling arterial tone, cardiac rhythm, and the immune response (6). On page 237, Yin et al. (7) report on TRPM8, which senses cold and menthol and may serve as a cancer biomarker (8).