Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Molecular fire detector

The protein responsible for the detection of extreme heat and pain resulting from infections has been identified by a team of K.U.Leuven researchers led by Professor Thomas Voets. The protein is a promising target for the development of new analgesic medications.

A rapid pain response to extreme temperatures is of vital importance to prevent being burned by touching a hot object or accidentally swallowing scolding soup, for example. Sensory nerves throughout the body – including in our skin and mucous membranes – detect temperature.

In people who suffer from certain conditions, such as infections or nerve damage, these nerves become extra sensitive. This sometimes results in oversensitivity to innocuous temperatures and chronic pain.

There are ion channels in the cell wall around these nerves – microscopic sluices that react to certain stimuli and then send electrical signals to the brain. Approximately ten years ago, American researchers discovered the capsaicin receptor: an ion channel that is responsible for the detection of heat and of “hot” chemical substances.
Capsaicin is the substance that gives red peppers their spicy taste. Research demonstrated, however, that the capsaicin receptor is not responsible for all heat detection and that there must be other molecular detectors for extreme heat.

Research conducted by Doctor Joris Vriens, in collaboration with colleagues at the Leuven Laboratory for Ion Channel Research and German researchers, has demonstrated that the ion channel TRPM3 is also a molecular sensor for heat and for the hormone pregnenolone sulfate – a precursor to the gender hormones oestrogen or testosterone. Mice with a defective TRPM3 gene appear to feel far less pain when exposed to heat or the steroid hormone. Moreover, these mice do not develop oversensitivity to heat when they have infections. These new discoveries make TRPM3 a promising target for the development of new analgesic medications.

Professor Thomas Voets, tel. +32 16 33 02 17
or Joris Vriens, tel. +32 16 33 02 16

More info: The complete text of the "TRPM3 is a nociceptor channel involved in the detection of noxious heat” by Joris Vriens, Grzegorz Owsianik, Thomas Hofmann, Stephan Philipp, Julia Stab, Xiaodi Chen, Melissa Benoit, Fenqin Xue, Annelies Janssens, Sara Kerselaers, Johannes Oberwinkler, Rudi Vennekens, Thomas Gudermann, Bernd Nilius and Thomas Voets is available on the website of the scientific journal Neuron:

pressoffice | K.U. Leuven
Further information:

Further reports about: Molecular Target chemical substance mucous membrane

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht When fat cells change their colour
28.10.2016 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Aquaculture: Clear Water Thanks to Cork
28.10.2016 | Technologie Lizenz-Büro (TLB) der Baden-Württembergischen Hochschulen GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel light sources made of 2D materials

Physicists from the University of Würzburg have designed a light source that emits photon pairs. Two-photon sources are particularly well suited for tap-proof data encryption. The experiment's key ingredients: a semiconductor crystal and some sticky tape.

So-called monolayers are at the heart of the research activities. These "super materials" (as the prestigious science magazine "Nature" puts it) have been...

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Prototype device for measuring graphene-based electromagnetic radiation created

28.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Gamma ray camera offers new view on ultra-high energy electrons in plasma

28.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

When fat cells change their colour

28.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>