Study of TRP Channels by Automated Patch Clamp Systems

Author(s): Morten Sunesen, Rasmus B Jacobsen

Ion channels are responsible for the permeation of ions across the membrane and their central role in cellular physiology is well established. Historically, the direct study of ion channels has been considered technically challenging. As such, a significant barrier to drug discovery for ion channels has been the low throughput of high quality electrophysiological data. The emergence of automated high throughput platforms for studying ion channel kinetics and pharmacology has lowered this barrier. Ion channels are now recognized as increasingly important drug targets and a diverse range of ion channels are implicated in a variety of drug discovery and cardiac safety assessment programs. The TRP (Transient Receptor Potential) superfamily of ion channels play a crucial role in a broad range of sensory functions including vision, taste, olfaction, hearing, touch, pain and thermosensation. Many of the TRP channels are polymodal in their activation and deactivation mechanisms and even with conventional patch clamp electrophysiology, the TRP channels are considered to be a very complex target class. Here we present an update on the significant progress made on the TRP receptor assays with the available automated patch clamp systems.