TRPM8 is a member of the transient receptor potential ion channel family where it functions as a cold and pain sensor in humans and other higher organisms. Previous studies show that TRPM8 requires the signaling phosphoinositide lipid PIP2 to function. TRPM8 function is further regulated by other diverse mechanisms, including the small modulatory membrane protein PIRT (phosphoinositide regulator of TRP). Like TRPM8, PIRT also binds PIP2 and behavioral studies have shown that PIRT is required for normal TRPM8-mediated cold-sensing. To better understand the molecular mechanism of PIRT regulation of TRPM8, solution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy was used to assign the backbone resonances of full-length human PIRT and investigate the direct binding of PIRT to PIP2 and the human TRPM8 S1-S4 transmembrane domain. Microscale thermophoresis (MST) binding studies validate the NMR results and identify a competitive PIRT interaction between PIP2 and the TRPM8 S1-S4 domain. Computational PIP2 docking to a human TRPM8 comparative model was performed to help localize where PIRT may bind TRPM8. Taken together, our data suggest a mechanism where TRPM8, PIRT, and PIP2 form a regulatory complex and PIRT modulation of TRPM8 arises, at least in part, by regulating local concentrations of PIP2 accessible to TRPM8.
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