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Keywords:

  • azobenzenes;
  • capsaicin;
  • capsazepine;
  • photopharmacology;
  • TRPV1
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Controlling pain with light: TRPV1 channels mediate the response to noxious heat and can be activated by capsaicin, the major ingredient of chili pepper. Novel azobenzene photoswitches can be used for the optical control of TRPV1. One of these compounds antagonizes capsaicin in a light-dependent fashion, demonstrating that a photoswitchable antagonist and an agonist can be applied in concert to modulate ion channel activity.