How is neuropathic pain regulated in peripheral sensory neurons? Importins are key regulators of nucleocytoplasmic transport. In this study, we found that importin a3 (also known as karyopherin subunit alpha 4) can control pain responsiveness in peripheral sensory neurons in mice. Importin a3 knockout or sensory neuron-specific knockdown in mice reduced responsiveness to diverse noxious stimuli and increased tolerance to neuropathic pain. Importin a3-bound c-Fos and importin a3-deficient neurons were impaired in c-Fos nuclear import. Knockdown or dominant-negative inhibition of c-Fos or c-Jun in sensory neurons reduced neuropathic pain. In silico screens identified drugs that mimic importin a3 deficiency. These drugs attenuated neuropathic pain and reduced c-Fos nuclear localization. Thus, perturbing c-Fos nuclear import by importin a3 in peripheral neurons can promote analgesia.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)