Exploring Structure and Function of Human Cold Sensing Protein TRPM8 with ROSETTA Comparative Models
Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels are a diverse class of ion channels notable as polymodal sensors. TRPM8 is a TRP channel implicated in cold sensation, nociception, and a variety of human diseases, including obesity and cancer. Despite sustained interest in TRPM8 since its discovery in 2001, many of the molecular mechanisms that underlie function are not yet clear. Knowledge of these properties could have implications for medicine and physiological understanding of sensation and signaling. Structures of TRP channels have proven challenging to solve, but recent Cryoelectron microscopy (Cryo-EM) structures of TRPV1 provide a basis for homology-based modeling of TRP channel structures and interactions. I present an ensemble of 11,000 Rosetta computational homology models of TRPM8 based on the recent Cryo-EM apo structure of TRPV1 (PDB code:3J5P). Site-directed mutagenesis has provided clues about which residues are most essential for modulatory ligands to bind, so the models presented provide a platform to investigate the structural basis of TRPM8 ligand modulation complementary to existing functional and structural information. Menthol and icilin appear to interact with interfacial residues in the sensor domain (S1-S4). One consensus feature of these sites is the presence of local contacts to the S4 helix, suggesting this helix may be mechanistically involved with the opening of the pore. Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2)has long been known to interact with the C-terminus of TRPM8, and some of the homology models contain plausible binding pockets where PIP2 can come into contact with charged residues known to be essential for PIP2 modulation. Future in silico binding experiments could provide testable hypothesis for in vitro structural studies, and experimental data (e.g. distance constraints from electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy [EPR]) could further refine the models.