F-actin links Epac-PKC signaling to purinergic P2X3 receptor sensitization in dorsal root ganglia following inflammation

Yanping Gu, Congying Wang, Guang Wen Li, Li Yen M. Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Sensitization of purinergic P2X3 receptors (P2X3Rs) contributes to the production of exaggerated nociceptive responses following inflammatory injury. We showed previously that prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) potentiates P2X3R-mediated ATP currents in dorsal root ganglion neurons isolated from both control and complete Freund’s adjuvant-induced inflamed rats. PGE2 potentiation of ATP currents depends only on PKA signaling in control neurons, but it depends on both PKA and PKC signaling in inflamed neurons. We further found that inflammation evokes an increase in exchange proteins directly activated by cAMP (Epacs) in dorsal root ganglions. This increase promotes the activation of PKC to produce a much enhanced PGE2 effect on ATP currents and to elicit Epac-dependent flinch nocifensive behavioral responses in complete Freund’s adjuvant rats. The link between Epac-PKC signaling and P2X3R sensitization remains unexplored. Here, we show that the activation of Epacs promotes the expression of phosphorylated PKC and leads to an increase in the cytoskeleton, F-actin, expression at the cell perimeter. Depolymerization of F-actin blocks PGE2-enhanced ATP currents and inhibits P2X3R-mediated nocifensive responses after inflammation. Thus, F-actin is dynamically involved in the Epac-PKC-dependent P2X3R sensitization. Furthermore, Epacs induce a PKC-dependent increase in the membrane expression of P2X3Rs. This increase is abolished by F-actin depolymerization, suggesting that F-actin mediates Epac-PKC signaling of P2X3R membrane expression. Thus, after inflammation, an Epac-PKC dependent increase in F-actin in dorsal root ganglion neurons enhances the membrane expression of P2X3Rs to bring about sensitization of P2X3Rs and abnormal pain behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMolecular pain
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


  • Epac
  • F-actin
  • PKC
  • complete Freund’s adjuvant
  • dorsal root ganglion
  • inflammation
  • purinergic P2X3R

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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