Heavy metal cations permeate the TRPV6 epithelial cation channel

Gergely Kovacs, Tamas Danko, Marc J. Bergeron, Bernadett Balazs, Yoshiro Suzuki, Akos Zsembery, Matthias A. Hediger

Research output: Article

35 Citations (Scopus)


TRPV6 belongs to the vanilloid family of the transient receptor potential channel (TRP) superfamily. This calcium-selective channel is highly expressed in the duodenum and the placenta, being responsible for calcium absorption in the body and fetus. Previous observations have suggested that TRPV6 is not only permeable to calcium but also to other divalent cations in epithelial tissues. In this study, we tested whether TRPV6 is indeed also permeable to cations such as zinc and cadmium. We found that the basal intracellular calcium concentration was higher in HEK293 cells transfected with hTRPV6 than in non-transfected cells, and that this difference almost disappeared in nominally calcium-free solution. Live cell imaging experiments with Fura-2 and NewPort Green DCF showed that overexpression of human TRPV6 increased the permeability for Ca2+, Ba2+, Sr2+, Mn2+, Zn2+, Cd2+, and interestingly also for La3+ and Gd3+. These results were confirmed using the patch clamp technique. 45Ca uptake experiments showed that cadmium, lanthanum and gadolinium were also highly efficient inhibitors of TRPV6-mediated calcium influx at higher micromolar concentrations. Our results suggest that TRPV6 is not only involved in calcium transport but also in the transport of other divalent cations, including heavy metal ions, which may have toxicological implications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-55
Number of pages13
JournalCell Calcium
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - jan. 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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  • Cite this

    Kovacs, G., Danko, T., Bergeron, M. J., Balazs, B., Suzuki, Y., Zsembery, A., & Hediger, M. A. (2011). Heavy metal cations permeate the TRPV6 epithelial cation channel. Cell Calcium, 49(1), 43-55. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ceca.2010.11.007