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Papers of the Week

Papers: 18 Jan 2020 - 24 Jan 2020

Animal Studies


Front Mol Neurosci


KLHL1 Controls Ca3.2 Expression in DRG Neurons and Mechanical Sensitivity to Pain.


Martínez-Hernández E, Zeglin A, Almazan E, Perissinotti P, He Y, Koob M, Martin JL, Piedras-Rentería ES
Front Mol Neurosci. 2019; 12:315.
PMID: 31969803.


Dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons process pain signaling through specialized nociceptors located in their peripheral endings. It has long been established low voltage-activated (LVA) Ca3.2 calcium channels control neuronal excitability during sensory perception in these neurons. Silencing Ca3.2 activity with antisense RNA or genetic ablation results in anti-nociceptive, anti-hyperalgesic and anti-allodynic effects. Ca3.2 channels are regulated by many proteins (Weiss and Zamponi, 2017), including KLHL1, a neuronal actin-binding protein that stabilizes channel activity by recycling it back to the plasma membrane through the recycling endosome. We explored whether manipulation of KLHL1 levels and thereby function as a Ca3.2 modifier can modulate DRG excitability and mechanical pain transmission or sensitivity to pain. We first assessed the mechanical sensitivity threshold and DRG properties in the KLHL1 KO mouse model. KO DRG neurons exhibited smaller T-type current density compared to WT without significant changes in voltage dependence, as expected in the absence of its modulator. Western blot analysis confirmed Ca3.2 but not Ca3.1, Ca3.3, Ca2.1, or Ca2.2 protein levels were significantly decreased; and reduced neuron excitability and decreased pain sensitivity were also found in the KLHL1 KO model. Analogously, transient down-regulation of KLHL1 levels in WT mice with viral delivery of anti-KLHL1 shRNA also resulted in decreased pain sensitivity. These two experimental approaches confirm KLHL1 as a physiological modulator of excitability and pain sensitivity, providing a novel target to control peripheral pain.