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Papers of the Week

Papers: 14 May 2022 - 20 May 2022

Animal Studies

2022 May


36 Suppl 1

Role of the Gβ5/R7-RGS complex in the regulation of pain transmission in sensory ganglia.


Degner KN, Zhang J-H, Pandey M, Smerin G, Fikse E, Simonds W
FASEB J. 2022 May; 36 Suppl 1.
PMID: 35554303.


Neuropathic pain is a chronic disorder resulting from damage to the afferent nerve fibers or central pain pathways and is often a complication in pathological conditions such as diabetes, shingles, multiple sclerosis, and stroke. The opioid epidemic has elucidated the need for more efficacious treatments for neuropathic pain. In 2019 alone, nearly 1.6 million people were diagnosed with an opioid use disorder and 48,000 people died from a synthetic opioid overdose. Despite the addictive properties, opioids are still the most frequently prescribed pain medication, even for chronic neuropathic pain. Heterotrimeric G-proteins consisting of the α, β, and γ subunits convey extracellular signals sensed by G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) to intracellular effectors. The Gβ5 subunit is a divergent member of the G-protein β subunit family as it does not bind to traditional γ subunits. Instead, Gβ5 complexes with the R7 subfamily of the regulators of G-protein signaling (R7-RGS) containing 4 members: RGS6, 7, 9 and 11. The Gβ5/R7-RGS complex acts as a GTPase accelerating protein (GAP) for G-protein αi/o (Gαi/o) subunits. Previous studies have established the integral role of R7-RGS proteins in pain transmission via their interactions with Gαi/o-coupled receptors including opioid and metabotropic gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA-B) receptors. Our lab has shown the lack of Gβ5 in sensory ganglia diminishes mechanical, thermal, and chemical nociception. However, the conditional knockout of Gβ5 in Rgs7 expressing neurons reduces only mechanical nociception. This Gβ5/RGS7-dependent mechanical nociception relies on GABA-B receptor signaling as indicated by the rescue of mechanical nociception in Rgs7-Cre; Gnb5 fl/fl mice after treatment with 2-hydroxysaclofen, a GABA-B antagonist. We also established that Rgs9 expressing neurons regulate thermal nociception via a Gβ5-dependent pathway as assayed by the hotplate test in Rgs9-Cre; Gnb5 fl/fl mice. The purpose of this project has been to understand the molecular role of each R7-RGS member in the regulation of pain transmission. First, we confirmed co-localization between the Gnb5 transcript and all four R7-RGS mRNA transcripts in murine dorsal root ganglia (DRG) using the RNAscope HiPlex assay, a novel in situ hybridization technique. We then established the co-localization patterns between each R7-RGS member and various pain related receptors including Mrgprd, Trpa1, and Trpv1. Our RNAscope results support the behavioral tests since Rgs7 transcripts highly co-express with Mrgprd, a mechanical nociceptor, while Rgs9 transcripts most frequently co-express with Trpv1, a thermosensitive receptor. These results suggest that each R7-RGS member might regulate unique types of nociception. We have also shown that Rgs11 transcripts co-localize with Trpv1 and Trpa1 receptor transcripts which indicates Rgs11 might regulate the chemical nociception as tested by capsaicin and mustard oil administration in the eye-wipe test. Next, we aim to study the possible roles of Rgs6 and Rgs11 in regulating chemical nociception using conditional Gβ5 knockout mice mediated by Rgs6-cre and Rgs11-cre, respectively.