Role for Calcium in Pain Signaling


This is Duke University. My name is Wolfgang Liedtke. I’m an associate professor of biology in the Duke University Pain Clinics. I
see patients with facial pain and in my laboratory we study pain mechanisms. Pain is a physiological mechanism that’s protective and that has evolved and given as a survival advantage.
However, pain can also become dysfunctional and chronic and become a disease that torments
patients. As a model for facial pain, we investigated the ones pain behavior that relies on a
single neuron that is present on the anterior end of the
worm. To investigate OSN9 ion channels in these animals and their
role in pain behavior, we introduced mutations in the OSN9 channel in order
to be able to understand it. Three-dimensional conformation of OSN9 and as it functions
in pain: Normal OSN9 channels conduct
calcium and sodium to pass from the outside of
the cell to the inside. We have introduced changes in the
selectivity filter of the OSN9 channel that make these channels impermeable to calcium. These findings are of
importance for understanding the role of calcium ions– how the nerve cell is triggering pain behavior and how the nerve cell is
reprogrammed for later. This reprogramming has
importance for understanding of chronic pain.
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