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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The sensory mechanotransduction ion channel ASIC2 (acid sensitive ion channel 2) is regulated by neurotrophin availability.

Almost all sensory neurons of the dorsal root ganglia have a mechanosensitive receptive field in the periphery. We have shown that the sensitivity to mechanical stimuli of a subset of sensory neurons that are slowly adapting mechanoreceptors (SAM) is strongly dependent on the availability of brain-derived neurotrophic factor ( BDNF). Here we have investigated whether the ASIC2 sodium channel, recently shown by us to be necessary for normal SAM sensitivity, might be regulated by BDNF and thus partially account for the down-regulation of SAM sensitivity seen in BDNF deficient mice. We show that the mRNA for ASIC2 channels is reduced in the DRG of BDNF deficient mice indicating that BDNF might maintain its expression in vivo. We also made short-term cultures of sensory neurons from adult BDNF deficient mice and used a specific antibody to detect the presence of ASIC2 channels in different classes of sensory neurons. We observed that the channel protein was dramatically down-regulated selectively in medium and large diameter neurons and this expression could be rescued in a dose and time dependent manner by addition of BDNF to the culture (10-100 ng/ml). Drugs that block new transcription or protein synthesis also prevented the rescue effects of BDNF. We observed that ASIC2 channels were down-regulated in sensory neurons taken from neurotrophin-4 and neurotrophin-3 deficient mice; these effects might be due to a selective loss of neurons that normally express large amounts of ASIC2 channels. In summary, our data identify the ASIC2 channel as a target of BDNF signaling in vivo and suggest that the functional down-regulation of sensory mechanotransduction in BDNF deficient mice is in part due to loss of ASIC2 expression.[1]


  1. The sensory mechanotransduction ion channel ASIC2 (acid sensitive ion channel 2) is regulated by neurotrophin availability. McIlwrath, S.L., Hu, J., Anirudhan, G., Shin, J.B., Lewin, G.R. Neuroscience (2005) [Pubmed]
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