The stress protein heat shock cognate 70 (Hsc70) inhibits the Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) channel

Mol Pain. 2016 Aug 24;12:1744806916663945. doi: 10.1177/1744806916663945. Print 2016.


Background: Specialized cellular defense mechanisms prevent damage from chemical, biological, and physical hazards. The heat shock proteins have been recognized as key chaperones that maintain cell survival against a variety of exogenous and endogenous stress signals including noxious temperature. However, the role of heat shock proteins in nociception remains poorly understood. We carried out an expression analysis of the constitutively expressed 70 kDa heat-shock cognate protein, a member of the stress-induced HSP70 family in lumbar dorsal root ganglia from a mouse model of Complete Freund's Adjuvant-induced chronic inflammatory pain. We used immunolabeling of dorsal root ganglion neurons, behavioral analysis and patch clamp electrophysiology in both dorsal root ganglion neurons and HEK cells transfected with Hsc70 and Transient Receptor Potential Channels to examine their functional interaction in heat shock stress condition.

Results: We report an increase in protein levels of Hsc70 in mouse dorsal root ganglia, 3 days post Complete Freund's Adjuvant injection in the hind paw. Immunostaining of Hsc70 was observed in most of the dorsal root ganglion neurons, including the small size nociceptors immunoreactive to the TRPV1 channel. Standard whole-cell patch-clamp technique was used to record Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid type 1 current after exposure to heat shock. We found that capsaicin-evoked currents are inhibited by heat shock in dorsal root ganglion neurons and transfected HEK cells expressing Hsc70 and TRPV1. Blocking Hsc70 with matrine or spergualin compounds prevented heat shock-induced inhibition of the channel. We also found that, in contrast to TRPV1, both the cold sensor channels TRPA1 and TRPM8 were unresponsive to heat shock stress. Finally, we show that inhibition of TRPV1 depends on the ATPase activity of Hsc70 and involves the rho-associated protein kinase.

Conclusions: Our work identified Hsc70 and its ATPase activity as a central cofactor of TRPV1 channel function and points to the role of this stress protein in pain associated with neurodegenerative and/or metabolic disorders, including aging.

Keywords: ATPase; cell stress; heat shock cognate 70; rho-associated protein kinase; transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 channel.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Anthelmintics / pharmacology
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic / pharmacology
  • Capsaicin / pharmacology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cesium / pharmacology
  • Chlorides / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Freund's Adjuvant / toxicity
  • Ganglia, Spinal / cytology
  • Ganglia, Spinal / drug effects
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Guanidines / pharmacology
  • HEK293 Cells
  • HSC70 Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • HSC70 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / chemically induced
  • Inflammation / drug therapy
  • Mice
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / metabolism
  • Pain / pathology
  • Potassium Channel Blockers / pharmacology
  • Quinolizines / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • TRPV Cation Channels / genetics
  • TRPV Cation Channels / metabolism*


  • Alkaloids
  • Anthelmintics
  • Antibiotics, Antineoplastic
  • Chlorides
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Guanidines
  • HSC70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Potassium Channel Blockers
  • Quinolizines
  • TRPV Cation Channels
  • Cesium
  • spergualin
  • Freund's Adjuvant
  • cesium chloride
  • matrine
  • Capsaicin

Grant support