Phosphorylated CRMP2 Regulates Spinal Nociceptive Neurotransmission

Jie Yu, Aubin Moutal, Angie Dorame, Shreya S. Bellampalli, Aude Chefdeville, Iori Kanazawa, Nancy Y.N. Pham, Ki Duk Park, Jill M. Weimer, Rajesh Khanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The collapsin response mediator protein 2 (CRMP2) has emerged as a central node in assembling nociceptive signaling complexes involving voltage-gated ion channels. Concerted actions of post-translational modifications, phosphorylation and SUMOylation, of CRMP2 contribute to regulation of pathological pain states. In the present study, we demonstrate a novel role for CRMP2 in spinal nociceptive transmission. We found that, of six possible post-translational modifications, three phosphorylation sites on CRMP2 were critical for regulating calcium influx in dorsal root ganglion sensory neurons. Of these, only CRMP2 phosphorylated at serine 522 by cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) contributed to spinal neurotransmission in a bidirectional manner. Accordingly, expression of a non-phosphorylatable CRMP2 (S522A) decreased the frequency of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents (sEPSCs), whereas expression of a constitutively phosphorylated CRMP2 (S522D) increased the frequency of sEPSCs. The presynaptic nature of CRMP2’s actions was further confirmed by pharmacological antagonism of Cdk5-mediated CRMP2 phosphorylation with S-N-benzy-2-acetamido-3-methoxypropionamide ((S)-lacosamide; (S)-LCM) which (i) decreased sEPSC frequency, (ii) increased paired-pulse ratio, and (iii) reduced the presynaptic distribution of CaV2.2 and NaV1.7, two voltage-gated ion channels implicated in nociceptive signaling. (S)-LCM also inhibited depolarization-evoked release of the pro-nociceptive neurotransmitter calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) in the spinal cord. Increased CRMP2 phosphorylation in rats with spared nerve injury (SNI) was decreased by intrathecal administration of (S)-LCM resulting in a loss of presynaptic localization of CaV2.2 and NaV1.7. Together, these findings indicate that CRMP2 regulates presynaptic excitatory neurotransmission in spinal cord and may play an important role in regulating pathological pain. Novel targeting strategies to inhibit CRMP2 phosphorylation by Cdk5 may have great potential for the treatment of chronic pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5241-5255
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Neurobiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


  • (S)-Lacosamide
  • CGRP
  • CRMP2
  • CaV2.2
  • NaV1.7
  • Spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic currents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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