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Papers of the Week

Papers: 24 Feb 2024 - 1 Mar 2024

2024 Feb 28



ATF4 inhibits TRPV4 function and controls itch perception in rodents and nonhuman primates.


Xie MX, Rao JH, Tian XY, Liu JK, Li X, Chen ZY, Cao Y, Chen AN, Shu HH, Zhang XL


Acute and chronic itch are prevalent and incapacitating, yet the neural mechanisms underlying both acute and chronic itch are just starting to be unraveled. Activated transcription factor 4 (ATF4) belongs to the ATF/CREB transcription factor family and primarily participates in the regulation of gene transcription. Our previous study has demonstrated that ATF4 is expressed in sensory neurons. Nevertheless, the role of ATF4 in itch sensation remains poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that ATF4 plays a significant role in regulating itch sensation. The absence of ATF4 in dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons enhances the itch sensitivity of mice. Overexpression of ATF4 in sensory neurons significantly alleviates the acute and chronic pruritus in mice. Furthermore, ATF4 interacts with the transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 4 (TRPV4) and inhibits its function without altering the expression or membrane trafficking of TRPV4 in sensory neurons. In addition, interference with ATF4 increases the itch sensitivity in nonhuman primates and enhances TRPV4 currents in nonhuman primates DRG neurons; ATF4 and TRPV4 also co-expresses in human sensory neurons. Our data demonstrate that ATF4 controls pruritus by regulating TRPV4 signaling through a nontranscriptional mechanism and identifies a potential new strategy for the treatment of pathological pruritus.