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Papers of the Week

Papers: 11 Mar 2023 - 17 Mar 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology, Pharmacology/Drug Development


2023 Mar 14

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A




Editor's Pick

Inflammation differentially controls transport of depolarizing Nav versus hyperpolarizing Kv channels to drive rat nociceptor activity.


Higerd-Rusli GP, Tyagi S, Baker CA, Liu S, Dib-Hajj FB, Dib-Hajj SD, Waxman SG


Inflammation causes pain by shifting the balance of ionic currents in nociceptors toward depolarization, leading to hyperexcitability. The ensemble of ion channels within the plasma membrane is regulated by processes including biogenesis, transport, and degradation. Thus, alterations in ion channel trafficking may influence excitability. Sodium channel Na1.7 and potassium channel K7.2 promote and oppose excitability in nociceptors, respectively. We used live-cell imaging to investigate mechanisms by which inflammatory mediators (IM) modulate the abundance of these channels at axonal surfaces through transcription, vesicular loading, axonal transport, exocytosis, and endocytosis. Inflammatory mediators induced a Na1.7-dependent increase in activity in distal axons. Further, inflammation increased the abundance of Na1.7, but not of K7.2, at axonal surfaces by selectively increasing channel loading into anterograde transport vesicles and insertion at the membrane, without affecting retrograde transport. These results uncover a cell biological mechanism for inflammatory pain and suggest Na1.7 trafficking as a potential therapeutic target.