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Papers of the Week

Papers: 21 Oct 2023 - 27 Oct 2023

2023 Oct 20



Targeted transcriptional upregulation of SENP1 by CRISPR activation enhances deSUMOylation pathways to elicit antinociception in the spinal nerve ligation model of neuropathic pain.


Gomez K, Allen HN, Duran P, Loya-Lopez S, Calderon-Rivera A, Moutal A, Tang C, Nelson TS, Perez-Miller S, Khanna R


The voltage-gated sodium channel NaV1.7 is an essential component of human pain signaling. Changes in NaV1.7 trafficking are considered critical in the development of neuropathic pain. SUMOylation of collapsin response mediator protein 2 (CRMP2) regulates the membrane trafficking and function of NaV1.7. Enhanced CRMP2 SUMOylation in neuropathic pain correlates with increased NaV1.7 activity. Pharmacological and genetic interventions that interfere with CRMP2 SUMOylation in rodents with neuropathic pain have been shown to reverse mechanical allodynia. Sentrin or SUMO-specific proteases (SENPs) are vital for balancing SUMOylation and deSUMOylation of substrates. Overexpression of SENP1 and/or SENP2 in CRMP2-expressing cells results in increased deSUMOylation and decreased membrane expression and currents of NaV1.7. Although SENP1 is present in the spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia, its role in regulating NaV1.7 function and pain is not known. We hypothesized that favoring SENP1 expression can enhance CRMP2 deSUMOylation to modulate NaV1.7 channels. In this study, we used a clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats activation (CRISPRa) SENP1 lentivirus to overexpress SENP1 in dorsal root ganglia neurons. We found that SENP1 lentivirus reduced CRMP2 SUMOylation, NaV1.7-CRMP2 interaction, and NaV1.7 membrane expression. SENP1 overexpression decreased NaV1.7 currents through clathrin-mediated endocytosis, directly linked to CRMP2 deSUMOylation. Moreover, enhancing SENP1 expression did not affect the activity of TRPV1 channels or voltage-gated calcium and potassium channels. Intrathecal injection of CRISPRa SENP1 lentivirus reversed mechanical allodynia in male and female rats with spinal nerve injury. These results provide evidence that the pain-regulating effects of SENP1 overexpression involve, in part, the modulation of NaV1.7 channels through the indirect mechanism of CRMP2 deSUMOylation.