Identification of interleukin-1 beta as a key mediator in the upregulation of Cav3.2-USP5 interactions in the pain pathway

Mol Pain. 2017 Jan-Dec:13:1744806917724698. doi: 10.1177/1744806917724698.


We recently reported that nerve injury or peripheral inflammation triggers an upregulation of the deubiquitinase, USP5 in mouse dorsal root ganglion and spinal dorsal horn. This leads to dysregulated ubiquitination of Cav3.2 T-type calcium channels, thus increasing Cav3.2 channel plasma membrane expression and nociceptive signaling in the primary afferent pain pathway. This phenomenon could be recapitulated by noninvasive, optogenetic activation of transient receptor potential vanilloid-1–expressing nociceptors, indicating that neuronal activity is a key player in this process. Given the relevance of the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1 beta in many forms of pathological pain, we hypothesized that interleukin-1 beta may be a critical cofactor required to drive upregulation of interactions between USP5 and Cav3.2 channels. Here, we report that gene expression, as well as protein levels for interleukin-1 beta and the endogenous interleukin-1 receptor-I antagonist, IL-1Ra are unaltered following conditioning stimulation of optogenetically targeted cutaneous nociceptors, indicating that neuronal activity is not a driver of interleukin-1 beta signaling. In contrast, co-immunoprecipitation experiments revealed that intrathecal administration of interleukin-1 beta in wild-type mice led to an increase in the interaction between USP5 and Cav3.2 in the spinal dorsal horn. Moreover, disruption of the interaction between USP5 and Cav3.2 with TAT peptides suppressed acute nocifensive responses produced by interleukin-1 beta, which was similar to that achieved by elimination of T-type channel activity with the channel blockers, mibefradil, or TTA-A2. Finally, this upregulation could be maintained in dorsal root ganglion neuron cultures exposed overnight to interleukin-1 beta, while the copresence of interleukin-1 receptor antagonist or the dampening of neuronal cell activity with tetrodotoxin attenuated this response. Altogether, our findings identify interleukin-1 beta as an upstream trigger for the upregulation of interactions between USP5 and Cav3.2 channels in the pain pathway, presumably by triggering increased firing activity in afferent fibers.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Channels, T-Type / genetics*
  • Calcium Channels, T-Type / metabolism
  • Ganglia, Spinal / metabolism
  • Hyperalgesia / metabolism
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Interleukin-1beta / metabolism*
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neuralgia / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Nociceptors / metabolism
  • Pain / metabolism*
  • Ubiquitin-Specific Proteases / metabolism*
  • Up-Regulation


  • Cacna1h protein, mouse
  • Calcium Channels, T-Type
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Ubiquitin-Specific Proteases
  • Usp5 protein, mouse

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