Identification of FAM173B as a protein methyltransferase promoting chronic pain
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H L D M Willemen, A Kavelaars, J Prado, M Maas, S Versteeg, et al.

Laboratory of Neuroimmunology and Developmental Origins of Disease (NIDOD), University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht University, Utrecht, the Netherlands


Chronic pain is a debilitating problem, and insights in the neurobiology of chronic pain are needed for the development of novel pain therapies. A genome-wide association study implicated the 5p15.2 region in chronic widespread pain. This region includes the coding region for FAM173B, a functionally uncharacterized protein. We demonstrate here that FAM173B is a mitochondrial lysine methyltransferase that promotes chronic pain. Knockdown and sensory neuron overexpression strategies showed that FAM173B is involved in persistent inflammatory and neuropathic pain via a pathway dependent on its methyltransferase activity. FAM173B methyltransferase activity in sensory neurons hyperpolarized mitochondria and promoted macrophage/microglia activation through a reactive oxygen speciesÐdependent pathway. In summary, we uncover a role for methyltransferase activity of FAM173B in the neurobiology of pain. These results also highlight FAM173B methyltransferase activity as a potential therapeutic target to treat debilitating chronic pain conditions.

BIOSEB Instruments Used:
Dynamic Weight Bearing 2.0 (BIO-DWB-DUAL)

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