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Papers of the Week

Papers: 11 Mar 2023 - 17 Mar 2023

Basic Science

Animal Studies, Genetics, Molecular/Cellular, Neurobiology

Neuropathic Pain

2023 Mar 09

J Neurosci


The Cytidine N-Acetyltransferase NAT10 Participates in Peripheral Nerve Injury-Induced Neuropathic Pain by Stabilizing SYT9 Expression in Primary Sensory Neurons.


Zhang M, Yang K, Xie L, Liu Q, Wei R, Tao Y, Zheng HL, Lin N, Xu H, Wang QH, Yang L, Wang H, Zhang T, Xue Z, Cao JL, Pan Z


RNA N4-acetylcytidine (ac4C) modification is increasingly recognized as an important layer of gene regulation; however, the involvement of ac4C in pain regulation has not been studied. Here, we report that N-acetyltransferase 10 protein (NAT10, the only known ac4C “writer”) contributes to the induction and development of neuropathic pain in an ac4C-dependent manner. Peripheral nerve injury increases the levels of NAT10 expression and overall ac4C in injured dorsal root ganglia (DRGs). This upregulation is triggered by the activation of USF1, a transcription factor that binds to the promoter. Knockdown or genetic deletion of NAT10 in the DRG abolishes the gain of ac4C sites in mRNA and the augmentation of SYT9 protein, resulting in a marked antinociceptive effect in nerve-injured male mice. Conversely, mimicking NAT10 upregulation in the absence of injury evokes the elevation of ac4C and SYT9 protein and induces the genesis of neuropathic-pain-like behaviors. These findings demonstrate that USF1-governed NAT10 regulates neuropathic pain by targeting ac4C in peripheral nociceptive sensory neurons. Our findings establish NAT10 as a critical endogenous initiator of nociceptive behavior and a promising new target for treating neuropathic pain.The cytidine N4-acetylcytidine (ac4C), a new epigenetic RNA modification, is crucial for the translation and stability of mRNA, but its role for chronic pain remains unclear. Here we demonstrate that NAT10 acts as ac4C N-acetyltransferase and plays an important role in the development and maintenance of neuropathic pain. NAT10 was upregulated via the activation of the transcription factor USF1 in the injured DRG after peripheral nerve injury. Since pharmacological or genetic deleting NAT10 in the DRG attenuated the nerve injury-induced nociceptive hypersensitivities partially through suppressing mRNA ac4C and stabilizing SYT9 protein level, NAT10 may serve as an effective and novel therapeutic target for neuropathic pain.