Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 modulates nociceptive signaling through direct phosphorylation of transient receptor potential vanilloid 1. Academic Article uri icon


  • Transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1), a ligand-gated cation channel highly expressed in small-diameter sensory neurons, is activated by heat, protons, and capsaicin. The phosphorylation of TRPV1 provides a versatile regulation of intracellular calcium levels and is critical for TRPV1 function in responding to a pain stimulus. We have previously reported that cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) activity regulates nociceptive signaling. In this article we report that the Cdk5-mediated phosphorylation of TRPV1 at threonine-407 can modulate agonist-induced calcium influx. Inhibition of Cdk5 activity in cultured dorsal root ganglia neurons resulted in a significant reduction of TRPV1-mediated calcium influx, and this effect could be reversed by restoring Cdk5 activity. Primary nociceptor-specific Cdk5 conditional-knockout mice showed reduced TRPV1 phosphorylation, resulting in significant hypoalgesia. Thus, the present study indicates that Cdk5-mediated TRPV1 phosphorylation is important in the regulation of pain signaling.

publication date

  • January 9, 2007