The findings – published in the top scientific journal Nature – could rapidly advance research into the next generation of painkillers for relief of chronic conditions such as migraine and backache.
Chronic pain, unlike the acute pain associated with trauma, has no apparent physiological benefit, often being referred to as the ‘disease of pain’.
Complete and lasting relief of chronic pain is rare and often the clinical goal is pain management through one or more medications.
But now researchers at The University of Manchester have examined microscopic amoeboid organisms commonly called slime moulds in a bid to gain greater insight into these pain molecules, known as ‘P2X receptors’.
“In humans, P2X receptors look identical to one another and so scientists have had difficulty understanding how they function,” said Dr Chris Thompson, who carried out the research with Professor Alan North and Dr Sam Fountain in the Faculty of Life Sciences.
“By looking at slime mould we were effectively able to turn the evolutionary clock back a billion years to see how a more primitive P2X molecule functions.”
The team discovered that there was only a 10% similarity between human P2X and the slime mould equivalent. They were therefore able to deduce from evolutionary theory that it was these similar parts of the molecule that probably regulate pain in humans.
“It’s a big step forward in understanding how the molecule works and should make it possible to develop drugs that block the receptors’ actions,” said Dr Thompson.
“Inhibiting P2X as a potential pain-relief therapy would be the Holy Grail of rational drug design and could revolutionise the way we manage chronic pain conditions like back pain and migraine.”
The research, published in Nature tomorrow (Thursday, July 12), was funded by the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council and the Lister Institute for Preventive Medicine.
Aeron Haworth | alfa
Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover
First transcription atlas of all wheat genes expands prospects for research and cultivation
17.08.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
17.08.2018 | Information Technology
17.08.2018 | Life Sciences