Phosphorylation of the Transient Receptor Potential Ankyrin 1 by Cyclin-dependent Kinase 5 affects Chemo-nociception

Sci Rep. 2018 Jan 19;8(1):1177. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-19532-6.


Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) is a key neuronal kinase that is upregulated during inflammation, and can subsequently modulate sensitivity to nociceptive stimuli. We conducted an in silico screen for Cdk5 phosphorylation sites within proteins whose expression was enriched in nociceptors and identified the chemo-responsive ion channel Transient Receptor Potential Ankyrin 1 (TRPA1) as a possible Cdk5 substrate. Immunoprecipitated full length TRPA1 was shown to be phosphorylated by Cdk5 and this interaction was blocked by TFP5, an inhibitor that prevents activation of Cdk5. In vitro peptide-based kinase assay revealed that four of six TRPA1 Cdk5 consensus sites acted as substrates for Cdk5, and modeling of the ankyrin repeats disclosed that phosphorylation would occur at characteristic pockets within the (T/S)PLH motifs. Calcium imaging of trigeminal ganglion neurons from genetically engineered mice overexpressing or lacking the Cdk5 activator p35 displayed increased or decreased responsiveness, respectively, to stimulation with the TRPA1 agonist allylisothiocyanate (AITC). AITC-induced chemo-nociceptive behavior was also heightened in vivo in mice overexpressing p35 while being reduced in p35 knockout mice. Our findings demonstrate that TRPA1 is a substrate of Cdk5 and that Cdk5 activity is also able to modulate TRPA1 agonist-induced calcium influx and chemo-nociceptive behavioral responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 5 / chemistry
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 5 / genetics
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 5 / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Imaging
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Nociception*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Conformation
  • Substrate Specificity
  • TRPA1 Cation Channel / chemistry
  • TRPA1 Cation Channel / genetics
  • TRPA1 Cation Channel / metabolism*
  • Trigeminal Ganglion / metabolism


  • TRPA1 Cation Channel
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 5
  • Calcium