The TRPA1 protein has up to 18 N-terminal and presumed cytoplasmic ankyrin repeats followed by the six membrane spanning and single pore-loop domains characteristic of all TRPs. In mice, TRPA1 is almost exclusively expressed in nociceptive neurons of peripheral ganglia and in all the mechanosensory epithelia of inner ear. In nociceptive neurons, TRPA1 mediates the response to the proalgesic bradykinin as well as the response to pungent irritants found in mustards and garlic, and probably also to those found in cinnamon and tear gas. The channel properties of TRPA1 are discussed and compared to those of sensory transducers. TRPA1 is well conserved across the animal kingdom, with likely orthologs from human to nematode, which suggest an ancestral role for this channel, probably in sensation.