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Sci. Signal., 20 December 2011
Vol. 4, Issue 204, p. ec354
[DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.4204ec354]


Sensory Perception Feeling No Pain

Sacha Vignieri

Science, AAAS, Washington, DC 20005, USA

Naked mole-rats live with up to 80 nest mates in deep underground tunnels with little oxygen exchange and high levels of CO2. Possibly because of this environment, naked mole-rats display remarkable acid insensitivity, despite containing the same acid sensors within their pain receptors as do other vertebrates. Smith et al. found that a specific variant in the sodium channel of naked mole-rat pain receptors was potently blocked by protons, thus inhibiting an action potential rather than exciting one.

E. St. J. Smith, D. Omerbasic, S. G. Lechner, G. Anirudhan, L. Lapatsina, G. R. Lewin, The molecular basis of acid insensitivity in the African naked mole-rat. Science 334, 1557–1560 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]

Citation: S. Vignieri, Feeling No Pain. Sci. Signal. 4, ec354 (2011).

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