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Papers of the Week

Papers: 2 Feb 2019 - 8 Feb 2019

Animal Studies

2019 Apr



Ubiquitination and inhibition of glycine receptor by HUWE1 in spinal cord dorsal horn.


Zhang Z-Y, Guo Z, Li H-L, He Y-T, Duan X-L, Suo Z-W, Yang X, Hu X-D
Neuropharmacology. 2019 Apr; 148:358-365.
PMID: 30721695.


Glycine receptors (GlyRs) are pentameric proteins that consist of α (α1-α4) subunits and/or β subunit. In the spinal cord of adult animals, the majority of inhibitory glycinergic neurotransmission is mediated by α1 subunit-containing GlyRs. The reduced glycinergic inhibition (disinhibition) is proposed to increase the excitabilities and spontaneous activities of spinal nociceptive neurons during pathological pain. However, the molecular mechanisms by which peripheral lesions impair GlyRs-α1-mediated synaptic inhibition remain largely unknown. Here we found that activity-dependent ubiquitination of GlyRs-α1 subunit might contribute to glycinergic disinhibition after peripheral inflammation. Our data showed that HUWE1 (HECT, UBA, WWE domain containing 1), an E3 ubiquitin ligase, located at spinal synapses and specifically interacted with GlyRs-α1 subunit. By ubiquitinating GlyRs-α1, HUWE1 reduced the surface expression of GlyRs-α1 through endocytic pathway. In the dorsal horn of Complete Freund's Adjuvant-injected mice, shRNA-mediated knockdown of HUWE1 blunted GlyRs-α1 ubiquitination, potentiated glycinergic synaptic transmission and attenuated inflammatory pain. These data implicated that ubiquitin modification of GlyRs-α1 represented an important way for peripheral inflammation to reduce spinal glycinergic inhibition and that interference with HUWE1 activity generated analgesic action by resuming GlyRs-α1-mediated synaptic transmission.