• capsaicin;
  • cytoskeleton;
  • dynamic microtubules;
  • pain;
  • TRPV1;
  • vanilloid receptor 1


The transmission of pain signalling involves the cytoskeleton, but mechanistically this is poorly understood. We recently demonstrated that the capsaicin receptor TRPV1, a non-selective cation channel expressed by nociceptors that is capable of detecting multiple pain-producing stimuli, directly interacts with the tubulin cytoskeleton. We hypothesized that the tubulin cytoskeleton is a downstream effector of TRPV1 activation. Here we show that activation of TRPV1 results in the rapid disassembly of microtubules, but not of the actin or neurofilament cytoskeletons. TRPV1 activation mainly affects dynamic microtubules that contain tyrosinated tubulins, whereas stable microtubules are apparently unaffected. The C-terminal fragment of TRPV1 exerts a stabilizing effect on microtubules when over-expressed in F11 cells. These findings suggest that TRPV1 activation may contribute to cytoskeleton remodelling and so influence nociception.