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Papers of the Week

Papers: 20 Jan 2024 - 26 Jan 2024

2023 Dec 19





Rbfox1 regulates alternative splicing of Nrcam in primary sensory neurons to mediate peripheral nerve injury-induced neuropathic pain.


He L, Guo H, Wang H, Zhu K, Li D, Zhang C, Ai Y, Yang JJ


The primary sensory neurons of the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) are subject to transcriptional alterations following peripheral nerve injury. These alterations are believed to play a pivotal role in the genesis of neuropathic pain. Alternative RNA splicing is a process that generates multiple transcript variants from a single gene, significantly contributing to the complexity of the transcriptome. However, little is known about the functional significance and control of alternative RNA splicing in injured DRG after spinal nerve ligation (SNL). In our study, we conducted a comprehensive transcriptome profiling and bioinformatic analysis to approach and identified a neuron-specific isoform of an RNA splicing regulator, RNA-binding Fox1 (Rbfox1, also known as A2BP1), as a crucial regulator of alternative RNA splicing in injured DRG after SNL. Notably, Rbfox1 expression is markedly reduced in injured DRG following peripheral nerve injury. Restoring this reduction effectively mitigates nociceptive hypersensitivity. Conversely, mimicking the downregulation of Rbfox1 expression generates neuropathic pain symptoms. Mechanistically, we uncovered that Rbfox1 may be a key factor influencing alternative RNA splicing of neuron-glial related cell adhesion molecule (NrCAM), a key neuronal cell adhesion molecule. In injured DRG after SNL, the downregulation of Rbfox1amplifies the insertion of exon 10 in Nrcam transcripts, leading to an increase in long Nrcam variants (L-Nrcam) and a corresponding decrease in short Nrcam variants (S-Nrcam) within injured DRG. In summary, our study supports the essential role of Rbfox1 in neuropathic pain within DRG, probably via the regulation of Nrcam splicing. These findings suggest that Rbfox1 could be a potential target for neuropathic pain therapy.