The Latoia consocia Caterpillar Induces Pain by Targeting Nociceptive Ion Channel TRPV1

Zhihao Yao, Peter Muiruri Kamau, Yalan Han, Jingmei Hu, Anna Luo, Lei Luo, Jie Zheng, Yuhua Tian, Ren Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Accidental contact with caterpillar bristles causes local symptoms such as severe pain, intense heat, edema, erythema, and pruritus. However, there is little functional evidence to indicate a potential mechanism. In this study, we analyzed the biological characteristics of the crude venom from the larval stage of Latoia consocia living in South-West China. Intraplantar injection of the venom into the hind paws of mice induced severe acute pain behaviors in wild type (WT) mice; the responses were much reduced in TRPV1-deficit (TRPV1 KO) mice. The TRPV1-specific inhibitor, capsazepine, significantly attenuated the pain behaviors. Furthermore, the crude venom evoked strong calcium signals in the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons of WT mice but not those of TRPV1 KO mice. Among the pain-related ion channels we tested, the crude venom only activated the TRPV1 channel. To better understand the venom components, we analyzed the transcriptome of the L. consocia sebaceous gland region. Our study suggests that TRPV1 serves as a primary nociceptor in caterpillar-induced pain and forms the foundation for elucidating the pain-producing mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 27 2019


  • caterpillar
  • Latoia consocia
  • pain
  • trpv1
  • venom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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