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Open Access Research

Evidence for regulatory diversity and auto-regulation at the TAC1 locus in sensory neurones

Lynne Shanley, Marissa Lear, Scott Davidson, Ruth Ross and Alasdair MacKenzie*

Author Affiliations

School of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, AB25 2ZD, UK

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Journal of Neuroinflammation 2011, 8:10  doi:10.1186/1742-2094-8-10

Published: 4 February 2011

Abstract

The neuropeptide substance-P (SP) is expressed from the TAC1 gene in sensory neurones where it acts as a key modulator of neurogenic inflammation. The promoter of TAC1 (TAC1prom) plays a central role in the regulation of the TAC1 gene but requires the presence of a second regulatory element; ECR2, to support TAC1 expression in sensory neurones and to respond appropriately to signalling pathways such as MAPkinases and noxious induction by capsaicin. We examined whether the effect of capsaicin on ECR2-TAC1prom activity in larger diameter neurones was cell autonomous or non- cell autonomous. We demonstrate that TRPV1 is not expressed in all the same cells as SP following capsaicin induction suggesting the presence of a non-cell autonomous mechanism for TAC1 up-regulation following capsaicin induction. In addition, we demonstrate that induction of SP and ECR1-TAC1prom activity in these larger diameter neurones can be induced by potassium depolarisation suggesting that, in addition to capsaicin induction, transgene activity may be modulated by voltage gated calcium channels. Furthermore, we show that NK1 is expressed in all SP- expressing cells after capsaicin induction and that an agonist of NK1 can activate both SP and the transgene in larger diameter neurones. These observations suggest the presence of an autocrine loop that controls the expression of the TAC1 promoter in sensory neurones. In contrast, induction of the TAC1 promoter by LPS was not dependent on ECR2 and did not occur in large diameter neurones. These studies demonstrate the diversity of mechanisms modulating the activity of the TAC1 promoter and provide novel directions for the development of new anti-inflammatory therapies.