Dr. Caterina's lab studies the biological functions and biophysical characteristics of a group of ion channel proteins of the transient receptor potential vanilloid (TRPV) family: TRPV1, TRPV2, TRPV3 and TRPV4. These channels share the intriguing feature that they can be activated by warm or painfully hot temperatures, as well as by many nonthermal stimuli. For example, TRPV1, the founding member of this family, can be activated by painful heat (>42°C), by protons, or by pungent chemicals such as capsaicin. This channel is strongly expressed in nociceptive neurons and is essential for normal behavioral responses to noxious heat.
By examining these channels in recombinant and native systems, and taking advantage of knockout mice lacking one or more subtypes, Dr. Caterina and his team are dissecting the biological contributions of these channels to thermosensory and nonthermosensory processes in both neuronal and nonneuronal cells. They are also seeking to more broadly understand the biological and pathophysiological basis of chronic pain.
Pan B, Byrnes K, Schwartz M, Hansen CD, Campbell CM, Krupiczojc M, Caterina MJ, Polydefkis M. Peripheral neuropathic changes in pachyonychia congenita. Pain. 2016 PubMed PMID: 27776012.
Qu L, Caterina MJ. Enhanced excitability and suppression of A-type K(+) currents in joint sensory neurons in a murine model of antigen-induced arthritis. Sci Rep. 2016 PubMed PMID: 27363579.
Pang Z, Sakamoto T, Tiwari V, Kim YS, Yang F, Dong X, Güler AD, Guan Y, Caterina MJ. Selective keratinocyte stimulation is sufficient to evoke nociception in mice. Pain. 2015 PubMed PMID: 25790456.
Park U, Vastani N, Guan Y, Raja SN, Koltzenburg M, Caterina MJ. TRP vanilloid 2 knock-out mice are susceptible to perinatal lethality but display normal thermal and mechanical nociception. J Neurosci. 2011 PubMed PMID: 21832173.
Huang SM, Li X, Yu Y, Wang J, Caterina MJ. TRPV3 and TRPV4 ion channels are not major contributors to mouse heat sensation. Mol Pain. 2011 PubMed PMID: 21586160.