A scientific poster to be presented this week at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine reports initial confirmation that a novel scaffold protein previously unassociated with the mu opioid receptor (MOR) regulates MOR-induced signaling activation. The MOR is the target of opioid analgesics and is an important mechanism for pain regulation in the body.
The research is the first to spotlight this protein, previously unassociated with the MOR or pain, and to demonstrate in cells that the protein regulates MOR signaling. These findings may facilitate the development of new drugs to target the MOR to produce pain relief with reduced side effects. Once identified, candidate proteins can be manipulated in cells and the effects on MOR signaling determined, as was done with the candidate protein in this study. More broadly, understanding the molecular mechanism of MOR signaling will open up many new strategies for improved drug design.
Read a news story about the research here.