Generation of a stable Nav1.9 (Scn11a) cell line

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Unmet Need
Chronic pain management is primarily achieved through the effective use of opioid derived therapeutics.  Although efficacious, these drugs are also associated with adverse events of addiction, confusion and sedation. In large part, these side effects result from an inability to selectively screen for drugs that target the established pain-sensing voltage-gated sodium (Nav) channel isoform Nav1.9 (gene name: Scn11a) found in sensory dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons and the enteric nervous system.  The ability to express this channel in heterologous systems is necessary prerequisite for a successful pain therapeutics screen that hope to overcome the issues of opioid treatment.   
Technology Overview
JHU researchers have generated two Nav1.9 (mouse clone) stable cell lines, one in HEK293 cells and the other in ND7/23 cells, without the need for auxiliary subunits.  The investigators achieved this by combining the Flp-In system with a novel placement of an endogenous intron into a strategic position within the Nav1.9 cDNA clone to increase Nav channel expression.  As a result, the two cell lines stably express an eGFP-tagged mNav1.9 construct that mimics channel-mediated currents in rodents. These cell lines open the door to a range of biophysical studies as well as drug screens.
Stage of Development
The cell lines have been created and tested for their ability to recapitulate Nav1.9 activity.
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Christine Joseph
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