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Papers of the Week

Papers: 26 Aug 2023 - 1 Sep 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Genetics, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology

Neuropathic Pain

2023 Aug 25



Editor's Pick

DNA N6-methyladenine methylase N6AMT1 controls neuropathic pain through epigenetically modifying Kcnj16 in dorsal horn neurons.


Zhou HM, Xu HJ, Sun RH, Zhang M, Li XT, Zhao YX, Yang K, Wei R, Liu Q, Li S, Xue Z, Hao LY, Yang L, Wang QH, Wang HJ, Gao F, Cao JL, Pan Z


Nerve injury-induced aberrant changes in gene expression in spinal dorsal horn neurons are critical for the genesis of neuropathic pain. N6-methyladenine (m6A) modification of DNA represents an additional layer of gene regulation. Here, we report that peripheral nerve injury significantly decreased the level of m6A-specific DNA methyltransferase 1 (N6amt1) in dorsal horn neurons. This decrease was attributed, at least partly, to a reduction in transcription factor Nr2f6. Rescuing the decrease in N6amt1 reversed the loss of m6A at the promoter for inwardly rectifying potassium channel subfamily J member 16 (Kcnj16), mitigating the nerve injury-induced upregulation of Kcnj16 expression in the dorsal horn and alleviating neuropathic pain hypersensitivities. Conversely, mimicking the downregulation of N6amt1 in naive mice erased DNA m6A at the Kcnj16 promoter, elevated Kcnj16 expression, and led to neuropathic pain-like behaviors. Therefore, decreased N6amt1 caused by NR2F6 is required for neuropathic pain, likely through its regulation of m6A-controlled KCNJ16 in dorsal horn neurons, suggesting that DNA m6A modification may be a potential new target for analgesic and treatment strategies.