Qin Liu, Ph.D.
Molecular Cell Biology Program
somatosensation, itch, primary sensory neurons, G protein-coupled receptors
The biology of itch
The research in my lab focuses on the biology of itch. The initial detection of itch-inducing stimuli (pruritogens) is performed by small-diameter sensory neurons in the trigeminal ganglion or dorsal root ganglia (DRG). My previous work identified several novel itch receptors that are expressed selectively in in the DRG, and mediate nonhistaminergic itch by interacting with various pruritogens. My research interests over the next few years will include understanding how primary sensory neurons detect itch-inducing stimuli, how itch signals are encoded and transmitted in the nervous system, and the molecular and neural mechanisms of chronic itch conditions.
Han L, Ma C, Liu Q, et al. A subpopulation of nociceptors specifically linked to itch. Nature Neuroscience. 2013;16(2):174-82. PMID: 23263443
Liu Q, Sikand P, Ma C, Tang Z, Han L, Li Z, Sun S, LaMotte R, and Dong X. Mechanisms of itch evokedby beta-alanine. The Journal of Neuroscience. 2012; 32(42):14532-7. PMCID: PMC3491570
Liu Q*, Weng HJ*, Patel KN*, Tang Z, Bai H, and Dong X. The distinct roles of two GPCRs, MrgprC11 and PAR2, in itch and hyperalgesia. Science Signaling 2011: 4(181): ra45 *Denotes equal contribution (Cover
article). PMCID: PMC3144551
Guan Y*, Liu Q*, Tang Z, Raja SN, Anderson DJ, Dong X. Mas-related G-protein-coupled receptors inhibit pathological pain in mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of
America (PNAS), 2010: 107: 15933-8 *Denotes equal contribution PMCID: PMC2936626
Liu Q, Tang Z, Surdenikova L, et al. Sensory neuron-specific GPCRs Mrgprs are itch receptors mediating chloroquine-induced pruritus. Cell, 2009: 139: 1353-65.PMCID: PMC2989405
Liu Q, Vrontou S, Rice FL, et al. Molecular genetic visualization of a rare subset of unmyelinated sensory neurons that may detect gentle touch. Nature Neuroscience 2007: 10: 946-8.
Last Updated: 7/29/2013 2:37:49 PM