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Papers of the Week

Papers: 22 Apr 2023 - 28 Apr 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Genetics, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology

Neuropathic Pain

2023 Apr 24

Acta Pharmacol Sin


DHX9/DNA-tandem repeat-dependent downregulation of ciRNA-Fmn1 in the dorsal horn is required for neuropathic pain.


Liu XD, Jin T, Tao Y, Zhang M, Zheng HL, Liu QQ, Yang KH, Wei RN, Li SY, Huang Y, Xue ZY, Hao LY, Wang QH, Yang L, Lin FQ, Shen W, Tao YX, Wang HJ, Cao JL, Pan ZQ


Circular RNAs (ciRNAs) are emerging as new players in the regulation of gene expression. However, how ciRNAs are involved in neuropathic pain is poorly understood. Here, we identify the nervous-tissue-specific ciRNA-Fmn1 and report that changes in ciRNA-Fmn1 expression in spinal cord dorsal horn neurons play a key role in neuropathic pain after nerve injury. ciRNA-Fmn1 was significantly downregulated in ipsilateral dorsal horn neurons after peripheral nerve injury, at least in part because of a decrease in DNA helicase 9 (DHX9), which regulates production of ciRNA-Fmn1 by binding to DNA-tandem repeats. Blocking ciRNA-Fmn1 downregulation reversed nerve-injury-induced reductions in both the binding of ciRNA-Fmn1 to the ubiquitin ligase UBR5 and the level of ubiquitination of albumin (ALB), thereby abrogating the nerve-injury-induced increase of ALB expression in the dorsal horn and attenuating the associated pain hypersensitivities. Conversely, mimicking downregulation of ciRNA-Fmn1 in naïve mice reduced the UBR5-controlled ubiquitination of ALB, leading to increased expression of ALB in the dorsal horn and induction of neuropathic-pain-like behaviors in naïve mice. Thus, ciRNA-Fmn1 downregulation caused by changes in binding of DHX9 to DNA-tandem repeats contributes to the genesis of neuropathic pain by negatively modulating UBR5-controlled ALB expression in the dorsal horn.