Avi Priel


Avi Priel

The Institute for Drug Research (IDR)
School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Phone: +972-52-898-6639, +972-2-6757299, Fax: +972 2-675-7339



Research Interest:

The ability of an organism to sense and react to painful stimuli is essential for its survival. In mammals, distinct somatosensory neuronal cells in the trigeminal (TG) and dorsal root (DRG) ganglia, known as nociceptors, are responsible for the detection of environmental and endogenous noxious stimuli. The main detectors in these neurons are specifically expressed ligand-gated ion channels/receptors such as the somatosensory TRP channels. These receptors are the first to detect noxious stimuli both from chemical and/or physical origin and to initiate signal propagation to the brain. Moreover, their activation might result in a neurogenic inflammation due to a release of neuropeptides (such as substance P) from the nociceptors, which recruit and activate the immune system at the site of injury. Thus, pain receptors are responsible for the response of both the central nervous and the immune systems to noxious stimuli. Our lab focuses on the cellular, molecular and pharmacological basis of the pain receptors response. To this end, we employ different methodologies including electrophysiology (patch clamp recordings), live-cell calcium imaging, mutagenesis, primary and secondary cell cultures and various biochemical assays.

 List of Selected Publications:

  • Hazan A.#, Kumar R.#, Matzner H., and Priel A. (2015). The pain receptor TRPV1 displays agonist-dependent activation stoichiometry Scientific Reports, 5, 12278. # These authors contributed equally to this work [authorship listed alphabetically]

  • Bohlen CJ.#, Priel A.#, Zhou S., King D., Siemens J., and Julius D. (2010). A bivalent Tarantula toxin activates the Capsaicin Receptor, TRPV1, by targeting the outer pore domain Cell, 141(5), 834-845. # These authors contributed equally to this work [authorship listed alphabetically] Summarized in Spotlight (2010), ACS Chemical Biology, 5(7), 632. 

  • Priel A., Selak S., Lerma J., and Stern-Bach Y. (2006). Block of kainate receptor desensitization uncovers a key trafficking checkpoint Neuron ,  52(6), 1037-1046. Ranked “Recommended” by Faculty of 1000 Biology 

  • Priel A., Kolleker A., Ayalon G., Gillor M., Osten P.and Stern-Bach Y. (2005). Stargazin reduces desensitization and slows deactivation of the AMPA-type glutamate receptors The Journal of Neuroscience, 25(10), 2682-2686. Summarized in Research Highlights (2005), Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 6(6), 421.