Researchers Map Full-length Protein Involved in Chronic Pain, with Hopes for Future Therapies
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine researchers have discovered the full-length structure of a protein named Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid subtype 2 (TRPV2), with implications for the development of new treatments for chronic pain and cancer.
Moiseenkova-Bell’s team’s lab is the first to accurately and fully model TRPV2’s structure. The group used neuronal cells to reveal the previously unidentified molecular mechanism of the protein’s function in the process of neurite growth.
“By combining our findings regarding both this protein’s structure and molecular mechanism, we can investigate it with a more holistic understanding,” said Moiseenkova-Bell, Ph.D., principal investigator and assistant professor at Case Western’s School of Medicine Pharmacology Department, in a press release. “This positions us to develop pharmaceutical compounds that target TRPV2 as treatment for chronic pain.”
Moiseenkova-Bell’s team found that the outgrowth of sensory neurons under a neurotrophin-regulated signaling cascade might be caused partly due to TRPV2. Neurotrophin release in response to spinal injury may result in inflammatory signaling and abnormal outgrowth in peripheral sensory neurons, potentially leading to crippling chronic pain, a debilitating condition unlike acute pain – a state of alert to possible injury – that can last for months or even longer. It might be linked to a series of different medical conditions and it is frequently difficult to diagnose.