Prof Peter McIntyre’s colleague wins Nobel Prize

Former Head of Pharmacology Department co-authored pivotal research with 2021 Nobel Prize for medicine winner, Professor Ardem Patopoutian.

American laureates Ardem Patapoutian and David Julius shared the 2021 Nobel Prize for medicine for discoveries of sensory receptors for temperature and touch that could pave the way for new pain killers.

Their findings have allowed us to understand how heat, cold and mechanical force can initiate the nerve impulses that allow us to perceive and adapt to the world around us, the Nobel Assembly of Sweden’s Karolinska Institute said.

While heading a project on TRPV1, the heat and chilli pepper receptor cloned by David Julius, Professor Peter McIntyre, now retired, collaborated with Ardem Patapoutian during the establishment of his first lab at the Scripps Institute. He was a co-author on three of Professor Patapoutian’s seminal Cell and Science papers in 2002 and 2003 characterising new sensory Transient Receptor Potential (TRP) channels. This work on sensory ion channels showed Ardem’s potential and paved the way for his discovery of the first mammalian sensory mechanoreceptors, the piezo channels, for which he was awarded the Nobel prize.

Professor McIntyre was Departmental Head of Pharmacology at the School of Biomedical Sciences from 2005 to 2012. He is now an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health. With a strong interest in the mammalian sensory TRP ion channels, Professor McIntyre maintains a strong interest how some can be regulated by GPCRs.

Professor Peter Crack, Head of the Neuropharmacology Laboratory in the School’s Department of Biochemistry and Pharmacology, said: “Not many people can claim to have been part of experiments that have directly led to the awarding of the Nobel Prize.

“In the work that Peter completed with his friend and colleague Ardem Patapoutian, Peter can. Their work on TRP channels was field defining.”

Professor McIntyre and Professor Patapoutian collaborated on cloning trip channels and set up projects in a San Diego laboratory in the late 1990s.

Patapoutian, is now a professor at Scripps Research, La Jolla, California, having previously done research at the University of California, San Francisco, and California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.

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  1. A TRP channel that senses cold stimuli and menthol.
    Peier AM, Moqrich A, Hergarden AC, Reeve AJ, Andersson DA, Story GM, Earley TJ, Dragoni I, McIntyre P, Bevan S, Patapoutian A.
    Cell. 2002 Mar 8;108(5):705-15. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(02)00652-9.
    PMID: 11893340
  2. ANKTM1, a TRP-like channel expressed in nociceptive neurons, is activated by cold temperatures.
    Story GM, Peier AM, Reeve AJ, Eid SR, Mosbacher J, Hricik TR, Earley TJ, Hergarden AC, Andersson DA, Hwang SW, McIntyre P, Jegla T, Bevan S, Patapoutian A.
    Cell. 2003 Mar 21;112(6):819-29. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(03)00158-2.
    PMID: 12654248
  3. A heat-sensitive TRP channel expressed in keratinocytes.
    Peier AM, Reeve AJ, Andersson DA, Moqrich A, Earley TJ, Hergarden AC, Story GM, Colley S, Hogenesch JB, McIntyre P, Bevan S, Patapoutian A.
    Science. 2002 Jun 14;296(5575):2046-9. doi: 10.1126/science.1073140. Epub 2002 May 16.
    PMID: 12016205