- Cysteine-rich protein 2 is a downstream effector of cGMP-dependent protein kinase I in nociception : poster presentation (2007)
- The experience of pain is mediated by a specialized sensory system, the nociceptive system. There is considerable evidence that the cGMP/cGMP kinase I (cGKI) signaling pathway modulates the nociceptive processing within the spinal cord. However, downstream targets of cGKI in this context have not been identified to date. In this study we investigated whether cysteine-rich protein 2 (CRP2) is a downstream effector of cGKI in the spinal cord and is involved in nociceptive processing. Immunohistochemistry of the mouse spinal cord revealed that CRP2 is expressed in superficial laminae of the dorsal horn. CRP2 is colocalized with cGKI and with markers of primary afferent C fibers. Importantly, the majority of CRP2 mRNA-positive dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons express cGKI and CRP2 is phosphorylated in a cGMP-dependent manner. To elucidate the functional role of CRP2 in nociception, we investigated the nociceptive behavior of CRP2-deficient (CRP2-/-) mice. Touch perception and acute thermal nociception were unaltered in CRP2-/- mice. However, CRP2-/- mice showed an increased nociceptive behavior in models of persistent pain as compared to wild type mice. Intrathecal administration of cGKI activating cGMP analogs increased the nociceptive behavior in wild type but not in CRP2-/- mice, indicating that the presence of CRP2 was essential for cGMP/cGKI-mediated nociception. These data indicate that CRP2 is a new downstream effector of cGKI-mediated spinal nociceptive processing and point to an inhibitory role of CRP2 in the generation of inflammatory pain.
- Deletion of the Ca2+-activated potassium (BK) alpha-subunit but not the BK-beta-1-subunit leads to progressive hearing loss (2004)
- The large conductance voltage- and Ca2+-activated potassium (BK) channel has been suggested to play an important role in the signal transduction process of cochlear inner hair cells. BK channels have been shown to be composed of the pore-forming alpha-subunit coexpressed with the auxiliary beta-1-subunit. Analyzing the hearing function and cochlear phenotype of BK channel alpha-(BKalpha–/–) and beta-1-subunit (BKbeta-1–/–) knockout mice, we demonstrate normal hearing function and cochlear structure of BKbeta-1–/– mice. During the first 4 postnatal weeks also, BKalpha–/– mice most surprisingly did not show any obvious hearing deficits. High-frequency hearing loss developed in BKalpha–/– mice only from ca. 8 weeks postnatally onward and was accompanied by a lack of distortion product otoacoustic emissions, suggesting outer hair cell (OHC) dysfunction. Hearing loss was linked to a loss of the KCNQ4 potassium channel in membranes of OHCs in the basal and midbasal cochlear turn, preceding hair cell degeneration and leading to a similar phenotype as elicited by pharmacologic blockade of KCNQ4 channels. Although the actual link between BK gene deletion, loss of KCNQ4 in OHCs, and OHC degeneration requires further investigation, data already suggest human BK-coding slo1 gene mutation as a susceptibility factor for progressive deafness, similar to KCNQ4 potassium channel mutations. © 2004, The National Academy of Sciences. Freely available online through the PNAS open access option.
- cGMP-dependent signaling pathways in spinal pain processing (2009)
- Oral presentation from 4th International Conference of cGMP Generators, Effectors and Therapeutic Implications ; Regensburg, Germany. 19–21 June 2009 Background: An exaggerated pain sensitivity is the dominant feature of inflammatory and neuropathic pain both in the clinical setting and in experimental animal models. It manifests as pain in response to normally innocuous stimuli (allodynia), increased response to noxious stimuli (hyperalgesia) or spontaneous pain, and can persist long after the initial injury is resolved. Research over the last decades has revealed that several signaling pathways in the spinal cord essentially contribute to the pain sensitization. To test the contribution of cGMP produced by NO-sensitive guanylyl cyclase (NO-GC) to pain sensitization, we investigated the localization of NO-GC in the spinal cord and in dorsal root ganglia, and we characterized the nociceptive behavior of mice deficient in NO-GC (GC-KO mice). Results: We show that NO-GC (β1 subunit) is distinctly expressed in neurons of the mouse spinal cord, while its distribution in dorsal root ganglia is restricted to non-neuronal cells. GC-KO mice exhibited a considerably reduced nociceptive behavior in models of inflammatory or neuropathic pain, but their responses to acute pain were not impaired. Moreover, GC-KO mice failed to develop pain sensitization induced by spinal administration of drugs releasing NO. Surprisingly, during spinal nociceptive processing cGMP produced by NO-GC may activate signaling pathways different from cGMP-dependent protein kinase I (cGKI), while cGKI can be activated by natriuretic peptide receptor-B (NPR-B) dependent cGMP production. Conclusion: Taken together, our results provide evidence that NO-GC has a dominant role in the development of exaggerated pain sensitivity during inflammatory and neuropathic pain. Furthermore, beside the NO-mediated cGMP synthesis, cGMP produced by NPR-B contributes to pain sensitization by activation of cGKI.