Document Detail

Infrared snake eyes: TRPA1 and the thermal sensitivity of the snake pit organ.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20571127     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The pit organs of pit vipers, pythons, and boas are remarkable sensory devices that allow these snakes to detect infrared radiation emitted by warm-blooded prey. It has been theorized that this capacity reflects the pit organ's exceptional sensitivity to subtle fluctuations in temperature, but the molecules responsible for this extreme thermal resolution have been unknown. New evidence shows that pit organs respond to temperature using the warmth-activated cation channel TRPA1 (transient receptor potential ankyrin 1), a finding that provides a first glimpse of the underlying molecular hardware. The properties of these snake TRPA1s raise intriguing questions about the mechanisms responsible for the exceptional sensitivity of many biological thermoreceptors and about the evolutionary origins of these warmth-activated TRP channels.
Vincent C Panzano; Kyeongjin Kang; Paul A Garrity
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2010-06-22
Journal Detail:
Title:  Science signaling     Volume:  3     ISSN:  1937-9145     ISO Abbreviation:  Sci Signal     Publication Date:  2010  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-06-23     Completed Date:  2010-10-29     Revised Date:  2011-02-18    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101465400     Medline TA:  Sci Signal     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  pe22     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Biology, National Center for Behavioral Genomics, Volen Center for Complex Systems, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02458, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Boidae / physiology*
Feeding Behavior / physiology
Infrared Rays
Neurons / physiology
Predatory Behavior
Snakes / physiology*
TRPC Cation Channels / physiology*
Trigeminal Ganglion / physiology
Viperidae / physiology
Reg. No./Substance:
0/TRPC Cation Channels

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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