Researchers develop a new way to tackle pain: inhibition of RNA-protein interactions
James Strachan | | Quick Read
“There’s a tremendous need to better understand the molecular mechanisms responsible for pain,” says Zachary Campbell, Assistant Professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. His team has been delving into the chemical cascade that leads to pain perception – and aims to intervene by inhibiting a key protein – Poly(A)-binding protein (PABP) – using a synthetic RNA mimic.
The result was reduced pain sensitization in mice (1). PABP binds to the Poly(A) tail of messenger RNA during the formation of multiprotein complexes that regulate transcription during protein synthesis. Previous studies have found that one of those complexes, the cap-binding complex, is a key player in pain sensitization. The researchers used functional genomics to examine the specificity of PABP, and then created a chemically stabilized RNA substrate that could bind PABP and inhibit translation, which prevents the formation of the cap-binding complex – and cuts the pain response.
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