ATP-gated P2X3 receptors of sensory ganglion neurons are important transducers of painful stimuli and are modulated by extracellular algogenic substances, via changes in the receptor phosphorylation state. The present study investigated the role of calcium/calmodulin-dependent serine protein kinase (CASK) in interacting and controlling P2X3 receptor expression and function in mouse trigeminal ganglia. Most ganglion neurons in situ or in culture co-expressed P2X3 and CASK. CASK was immunoprecipitated with P2X3 receptors from trigeminal ganglia and from P2X3/CASK-cotransfected human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells. Recombinant P2X3/CASK expression in HEK cells increased serine phosphorylation of P2X3 receptors, typically associated with receptor upregulation. CASK deletion mutants also enhanced P2X3 subunit expression. After silencing CASK, cell surface P2X3 receptor expression was decreased, which is consistent with depressed P2X3 currents. The reduction in P2X3 expression levels was reversed by the proteasomal inhibitor MG-132. Moreover, neuronal CASK/P2X3 interaction was up-regulated by nerve growth factor (NGF) signaling and down-regulated by P2X3 agonist-induced desensitization. These data suggest a novel interaction between CASK and P2X3 receptors with positive outcome for receptor stability and function. As CASK-mediated control of P2X3 receptors was dependent on the receptor activation state, CASK represents an intracellular gateway to regulate purinergic nociceptive signaling.
© 2013 International Society for Neurochemistry.