New visualizing technology is providing new insights for researchers on the TRPA1 protein, known as the “wasabi receptor,” and these new insights hold the potential to facilitate researchers design future experiments aimed at learning how the body registers pain.
Researchers at UC San Francisco captured images of TRPA1 that reveal its structure in three dimensions, according to a YouTube video published by UCSF on the date the findings were published in Nature.
David Julius, a professor of physiology at the University of California, San Francisco and an author of the paper in Nature, led the team that first discovered the receptor a decade ago, but the researchers wanted to actually map the protein’s molecular structure.
Since the protein is involved in how the body perceives acute pain, this research could eventually lead to experiments that would assess how the body processes pain, and perhaps, beyond that, lead to novel pain treatments in the future, according to the researchers.
1. Julius D, et al. Nature. 2015; doi:10.1038/nature14367