University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Adrian Seminars in Neuroscience > Adrian Seminar Series - Annual Lecture "How Do You Feel? Ion channels that sense mechanical force"

Adrian Seminar Series - Annual Lecture "How Do You Feel? Ion channels that sense mechanical force"

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Mechanotransduction is perhaps the last sensory modality not understood at the molecular level. Proteins/ion channels that sense mechanical force are postulated to play critical roles in sensing touch/pain (somatosensation), sound (hearing), sheer stress (cardiovascular function), etc.; however, the identity of ion channels involved in sensing mechanical force has remained elusive. We identified Piezo1 and Piezo2, mechanically-activated cation channels that are expressed in many mechanosensitive cell types. We demonstrated that Piezos constitute an evolutionarily conserved family of mechanically-activated cation channels. We further showed that Piezo1 is a shear stress sensor in vascular endothelial cells, while Piezo2 is the major transducer of mechanical forces for touch sensation in mice. Current efforts focus on understanding structure-function relationship of Piezo proteins, and elucidating their physiological roles in various biological processes and diseases that depend on mechanotransduction. Finally, we are searching for novel mechanosensors.

This talk is part of the Adrian Seminars in Neuroscience series.

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