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Papers of the Week

Papers: 6 May 2023 - 12 May 2023

Basic Science

In Vitro Studies, Molecular/Cellular

Acute Pain

2023 May 11




Multiple antagonist calcium-dependent mechanisms control CaM kinase-1 subcellular localization in a thermal nociceptor.


Ippolito D, Glauser DA


Nociceptive habituation is a conserved process through which pain sensitivity threshold is adjusted based on past sensory experience and which may be dysregulated in human chronic pain conditions. Noxious heat habituation in involves the nuclear translocation of CaM kinase-1 (CMK-1) in the FLP thermo-nociceptors neurons, causing reduced animal heat sensitivity and avoidance responses. The phosphorylation of CMK-1 on T179 by CaM kinase kinase-1 (CKK-1) is required for nuclear entry. Recently, we identified a specific nuclear export sequence (NES) required to maintain CMK-1 in the cytoplasm at rest (20°C) and showed that Ca/CaM binding is sufficient to enhance CMK-1 affinity for IMA-3 via a specific nuclear localization signal (NLS) in order to promote nuclear entry after persistent heat stimulation (90 min at 28°C) (Ippolito et al., 2021). Here, we identified additional functional NES and NLS on CMK-1, whose activity can counteract previously identified elements. Furthermore, we clarify the relationship between the CaM-binding-dependent and T179-dependent effects. T179 phosphorylation can promote nuclear entry both downstream of CaM binding and as part of an independent/parallel pathway. Moreover, T179 phosphorylation can also produce the opposite effect by promoting nuclear export. Taken together, our studies suggest that multiple calcium-dependent regulatory mechanisms converge to bias the activity pattern across a network of NES/NLS elements, in order to control CMK-1 nucleo-cytoplasmic shuttling, and actuate stimulation-dependent nociceptive plasticity.