Conjugated polymers mediate effective activation of the Mammalian Ion Channel Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid 1
Antognazza, M. R.
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CitationLodola, F., N. Martino, G. Tullii, G. Lanzani, and M. R. Antognazza. 2017. “Conjugated polymers mediate effective activation of the Mammalian Ion Channel Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid 1.” Scientific Reports 7 (1): 8477. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-08541-6. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-08541-6.
AbstractSelective and rapid regulation of ionic channels is pivotal to the understanding of physiological processes and has a crucial impact in developing novel therapeutic strategies. Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels are emerging as essential cellular switches that allow animals to respond to their environment. In particular, the Vanilloid Receptor 1 (TRPV1), besides being involved in the body temperature regulation and in the response to pain, has important roles in several neuronal functions, as cytoskeleton dynamics, injured neurons regeneration, synaptic plasticity. Currently available tools to modulate TRPV1 activity suffer from limited spatial selectivity, do not allow for temporally precise control, and are usually not reversible, thus limiting their application potential. The use of optical excitation would allow for overcoming all these limitations. Here, we propose a novel strategy, based on the use of light-sensitive, conjugated polymers. We demonstrate that illumination of a polymer thin film leads to reliable, robust and temporally precise control of TRPV1 channels. Interestingly, the activation of the channel is due to the combination of two different, locally confined effects, namely the release of thermal energy from the polymer surface and the variation of the local ionic concentration at the cell/polymer interface, both mediated by the polymer photoexcitation.
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