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Papers of the Week

Papers: 29 Jun 2019 - 5 Jul 2019

Animal Studies

2019 Aug 28

J Neurosci



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Differences between dorsal root and trigeminal ganglion nociceptors in mice revealed by translational profiling.


Megat S, Ray PR, Tavares-Ferreira D, Moy JK, Sankaranarayanan I, Wanghzou A, Fang Lou T, Barragan-Iglesias P, Campbell ZT, Dussor G, Price TJ
J Neurosci. 2019 Aug 28; 39(35):6829-6847.
PMID: 31253755.


Nociceptors located in the TG and DRG are the primary sensors of damaging or potentially damaging stimuli for the head and body, respectively, and are key drivers of chronic pain states. While nociceptors in these two tissues show a high degree of functional similarity, there are important differences in their development lineages, their functional connections to the central nervous system, and recent genome-wide analyses of gene expression suggest that they possess some unique genomic signatures. Here, we used translating ribosome affinity purification (TRAP) to comprehensively characterize and compare mRNA translation in -positive nociceptors in the TG and DRG of male and female mice. This unbiased method independently confirms several findings of differences between TG and DRG nociceptors described in the literature but also suggests preferential utilization of key signaling pathways. Most prominently, we provide evidence that translational efficiency in mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR)-related genes is higher in the TG compared to DRG while several genes associated with the negative regulator of mTOR, AMPK activated protein kinase (AMPK), have higher translational efficiency in DRG nociceptors. Using capsaicin as a sensitizing stimulus we show that behavioral responses are greater in the TG region and this effect is completely reversible with mTOR inhibition. These findings have implications for the relative capacity of these nociceptors to be sensitized upon injury. Altogether, our data provide a comprehensive, comparative view of transcriptome and translatome activity in TG and DRG nociceptors that enhances our understanding of nociceptor biology.The DRG and TG provide sensory information from the body and head, respectively. Nociceptors in these tissues are critical first neurons in the pain pathway. Injury to peripheral neurons in these tissues can cause chronic pain. Interestingly, clinical and preclinical findings support the conclusion that injury to TG neurons is more likely to cause chronic pain and chronic pain in the TG area is more intense and more difficult to treat. We used TRAP technology to gain new insight into potential differences in the translatomes of DRG and TG neurons. Our findings demonstrate previously unrecognized differences between TG and DRG nociceptors that provide new insight into how injury may differentially drive plasticity states in nociceptors in these two tissues.