Transcription of rat TRPV1 utilizes a dual promoter system that is positively regulated by nerve growth factor

Qing Xue, Beverly Jong, Tom Chen, Mark A Schumacher
Journal of Neurochemistry 2007, 101 (1): 212-22
The capsaicin receptor, also known as 'transient receptor potential vanilloid receptor subtype 1' (TRPV1, VR1), is an ion channel subunit expressed in primary afferent nociceptors, which plays a critical role in pain transduction and thermal hyperalgesia. Increases in nociceptor TRPV1 mRNA and protein are associated with tissue injury-inflammation. As little is understood about what controls TRPV1 RNA transcription in nociceptors, we functionally characterized the upstream portion of the rat TRPV1 gene. Two functional rTRPV1 promoter regions and their transcription initiation sites were identified. Although both promoter regions directed transcriptional activity in nerve growth factor (NGF) treated rat sensory neurons, the upstream Core promoter was the most active in cultures enriched in sensory neurons. Because NGF is a key modulator of inflammatory pain, we examined the effect of NGF on rTRPV1 transcription in PC12 cells. NGF positively regulated transcriptional activity of both rTRPV1 promoter regions in PC12 cells. We propose that the upstream regulatory region of the rTRPV1 gene is composed of a dual promoter system that is regulated by NGF. These findings support the hypothesis that NGF produced under conditions of tissue injury and/or inflammation directs an increase of TRPV1 expression in nociceptors in part through a transcription-dependent mechanism.

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