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Induction of vanilloid receptor channel activity by protein kinase C

Abstract

Capsaicin or vanilloid receptors (VRs) participate in the sensation of thermal and inflammatory pain1,2,3. The cloned (VR1) and native VRs are non-selective cation channels directly activated by harmful heat, extracellular protons and vanilloid compounds4,5,6,7,8. However, considerable attention has been focused on identifying other signalling pathways in VR activation; it is known that VR1 is also expressed in non-sensory tissue1,9 and may mediate inflammatory rather than acute thermal pain3. Here we show that activation of protein kinase C (PKC) induces VR1 channel activity at room temperature in the absence of any other agonist. We also observed this effect in native VRs from sensory neurons, and phorbol esters induced a vanilloid-sensitive Ca2+ rise in these cells. Moreover, the pro-inflammatory peptide, bradykinin, and the putative endogenous ligand, anandamide, respectively induced and enhanced VR activity, in a PKC-dependent manner. These results suggest that PKC may link a range of stimuli to the activation of VRs.

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Figure 1: Phorbol ester activates VR1-mediated currents in oocytes.
Figure 2: TPA and ATPγs induce single channel VR1 activity.
Figure 3: TPA induces VR channel activity and a calcium rise in DRG neurons.
Figure 4: Bradykinin activates VRs via PKC.
Figure 5: Enhancement of anandamide-evoked VR1 responses via PKC.

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Acknowledgements

We thank D. Hallam for assistance with the culture of DRG neurons, and M. Caterina and D. Julius for the gift of VR1. This work was supported by the NSF.

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Correspondence to Louis S. Premkumar.

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Premkumar, L., Ahern, G. Induction of vanilloid receptor channel activity by protein kinase C. Nature 408, 985–990 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1038/35050121

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