The analgesic potency of peripherally applied opioids is strongly increased in inflamed tissue. In this project we investigate how the function of the µ-opioid receptor is modulated by changes in pH and radicals, as observed in the pathological state of inflammation. Following a multidisciplinary approach, we combine methods from molecular and cellular biology with in silico molecular simulations to elucidate the mechanisms underlying observations from behavioral experiments. Identifying disease-specific regulatory mechanisms will help to design novel opioids with reduced side effects. 
Investigators involved: Christoph Stein, Özgür M. Celik, Johanna Meyer, Giovanna Del Vecchio, Viola Seitz, Fatih Yergöz, Marcus Weber (Zuse Institute Berlin), Rob Meijers, Chris Bahl (Institute for Protein Innovation/Harvard University, Boston)