Research Article

Piezo1 and Piezo2 Are Essential Components of Distinct Mechanically Activated Cation Channels

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Science  01 Oct 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6000, pp. 55-60
DOI: 10.1126/science.1193270

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Abstract

Mechanical stimuli drive many physiological processes, including touch and pain sensation, hearing, and blood pressure regulation. Mechanically activated (MA) cation channel activities have been recorded in many cells, but the responsible molecules have not been identified. We characterized a rapidly adapting MA current in a mouse neuroblastoma cell line. Expression profiling and RNA interference knockdown of candidate genes identified Piezo1 (Fam38A) to be required for MA currents in these cells. Piezo1 and related Piezo2 (Fam38B) are vertebrate multipass transmembrane proteins with homologs in invertebrates, plants, and protozoa. Overexpression of mouse Piezo1 or Piezo2 induced two kinetically distinct MA currents. Piezos are expressed in several tissues, and knockdown of Piezo2 in dorsal root ganglia neurons specifically reduced rapidly adapting MA currents. We propose that Piezos are components of MA cation channels.

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