TRPV1 at nerve endings regulates growth cone morphology and movement through cytoskeleton reorganization


F. Hucho, Freie Universität Berlin, Institut für Chemie und Biochemie, Thielallee 63, 14195 Berlin, Germany
Fax: +49 30 83853753
Tel: +49 30 83855545

C. Goswami, Department of Human Molecular Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Ihnestrasse 63-73, 14195 Berlin, Germany
Fax: +49 30 84131383
Tel: +49 30 84131243


While the importance of Ca2+ channel activity in axonal path finding is established, the underlying mechanisms are not clear. Here, we show that transient receptor potential vanilloid receptor 1 (TRPV1), a member of the TRP superfamily of nonspecific ion channels, is physically and functionally present at dynamic neuronal extensions, including growth cones. These nonselective cation channels sense exogenous ligands, such as resenifera toxin, and endogenous ligands, such as N-arachidonoyl-dopamine (NADA), and affect the integrity of microtubule cytoskeleton. Using TRPV1-transiently transfected F11 cells and embryonic dorsal root ganglia explants, we show that activation of TRPV1 results in growth cone retraction, and collapse and formation of varicosities along neurites. These changes were due to TRPV1-activation-mediated disassembly of microtubules and are partly Ca2+-independent. Prolonged activation with very low doses (1 nm) of NADA results in shortening of neurites in the majority of isolectin B4-positive dorsal root ganglia neurones. We postulate that TRPV1 activation plays an inhibitory role in sensory neuronal extension and motility by regulating the disassembly of microtubules. This might have a role in the chronification of pain.