TRPV1, a cloned capsaicin receptor, is a molecular sensor for detecting adverse stimuli and a key element for inflammatory nociception and represents biophysical properties of native channel. However, there seems to be a marked difference between TRPV1 and native capsaicin receptors in the pharmacological response profiles to vanilloids or acid. One plausible explanation for this overt discrepancy is the presence of regulatory proteins associated with TRPV1. Here, we identify Fas-associated factor 1 (FAF1) as a regulatory factor, which is coexpressed with and binds to TRPV1 in sensory neurons. When expressed heterologously, FAF1 reduces the responses of TRPV1 to capsaicin, acid, and heat, to the pharmacological level of native capsaicin receptor in sensory neurons. Furthermore, silencing FAF1 by RNA interference augments capsaicin-sensitive current in native sensory neurons. We therefore conclude that FAF1 forms an integral component of the vanilloid receptor complex and that it constitutively modulates the sensitivity of TRPV1 to various noxious stimuli in sensory neurons.
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