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Science's STKE  27 May 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 184, pp. tw203
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.184.tw203

Capsaicin, a natural compound in chili peppers that produces a burning sensation in the mouth, acts through a pain receptor in the mammalian peripheral nervous system, the TRPV1 ion channel. Neurons expressing TRPV1 also perceive pain associated with stimuli such as high temperature and acidity. TRPV1 is activated by the hydrolysis of a membrane phospholipid called phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PIP2). Prescott and Julius have identified a direct binding site on TRPV1 for PIP2 and show that the strength of this interaction determines the activation threshold of the channel.

E. D. Prescott, D. Julius, A modular PIP2 binding site as a determinant of capsaicin receptor sensitivity. Science 300, 1284-1288 (2003). [Abstract] [Full Text]