Open channel block by Ca2+ underlies the voltage dependence of Drosophila TRPL channel

Moshe Parnas, Ben Katz, Baruch Minke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The light-activated channels of Drosophila photoreceptors transient receptor potential (TRP) and TRP-like (TRPL) show voltage-dependent conductance during illumination. Recent studies implied that mammalian members of the TRP family, which belong to the TRPV and TRPM subfamilies, are intrinsically voltage-gated channels. However, it is unclear whether the Drosophila TRPs, which belong to the TRPC subfamily, share the same voltage-dependent gating mechanism. Exploring the voltage dependence of Drosophila TRPL expressed in S2 cells, we found that the voltage dependence of this channel is not an intrinsic property since it became linear upon removal of divalent cations. We further found that Ca2+ blocked TRPL in a voltage-dependent manner by an open channel block mechanism, which determines the frequency of channel openings and constitutes the sole parameter that underlies its voltage dependence. Whole cell recordings from a Drosophila mutant expressing only TRPL indicated that Ca2+ block also accounts for the voltage dependence of the native TRPL channels. The open channel block by Ca2+ that we characterized is a useful mechanism to improve the signal to noise ratio of the response to intense light when virtually all the large conductance TRPL channels are blocked and only the low conductance TRP channels with lower Ca2+ affinity are active.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-28
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of General Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


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