PerspectiveNeuroscience

The importins of pain

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Science  14 Aug 2020:
Vol. 369, Issue 6505, pp. 774-775
DOI: 10.1126/science.abd4196

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Summary

Neuropathic pain, which is pain that arises from injury or disease affecting the somatosensory nervous system, affects millions of people with devastating consequences to their well-being. Available therapeutics have limited efficacy, and the underlying mechanisms governing the persistence of this disorder are mysterious. On page 842 of this issue, Marvaldi et al. (1) reveal that the nuclear import protein, importin α3, plays a crucial role in maintaining neuropathic pain months after a peripheral nerve injury in mice. Their findings demonstrate that activator protein 1 (AP1) family transcription factors require this nuclear transport complex for entrance to the sensory neuronal nucleus, pointing to a defined set of drug targets for the potential disruption of persistent neuropathic pain. An implication of the findings is that even very long-lasting neuropathic pain can be disrupted with disease-modifying therapeutics.

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