Piezo2 is required for Merkel cell mechanotransduction View Full Text


Ontology type: schema:ScholarlyArticle      Open Access: True


Article Info

DATE

2014-04-06

AUTHORS

Seung-Hyun Woo, Sanjeev Ranade, Andy D Weyer, Adrienne E Dubin, Yoshichika Baba, Zhaozhu Qiu, Matt Petrus, Takashi Miyamoto, Kritika Reddy, Ellen A Lumpkin, Cheryl L Stucky, Ardem Patapoutian

ABSTRACT

How we sense touch remains fundamentally unknown. The Merkel cell-neurite complex is a gentle touch receptor in the skin that mediates slowly adapting responses of Aβ sensory fibres to encode fine details of objects. This mechanoreceptor complex was recognized to have an essential role in sensing gentle touch nearly 50 years ago. However, whether Merkel cells or afferent fibres themselves sense mechanical force is still debated, and the molecular mechanism of mechanotransduction is unknown. Synapse-like junctions are observed between Merkel cells and associated afferents, and yet it is unclear whether Merkel cells are inherently mechanosensitive or whether they can rapidly transmit such information to the neighbouring nerve. Here we show that Merkel cells produce touch-sensitive currents in vitro. Piezo2, a mechanically activated cation channel, is expressed in Merkel cells. We engineered mice deficient in Piezo2 in the skin, but not in sensory neurons, and show that Merkel-cell mechanosensitivity completely depends on Piezo2. In these mice, slowly adapting responses in vivo mediated by the Merkel cell-neurite complex show reduced static firing rates, and moreover, the mice display moderately decreased behavioural responses to gentle touch. Our results indicate that Piezo2 is the Merkel-cell mechanotransduction channel and provide the first line of evidence that Piezo channels have a physiological role in mechanosensation in mammals. Furthermore, our data present evidence for a two-receptor-site model, in which both Merkel cells and innervating afferents act together as mechanosensors. The two-receptor system could provide this mechanoreceptor complex with a tuning mechanism to achieve highly sophisticated responses to a given mechanical stimulus. More... »

PAGES

622-626

Journal

TITLE

Nature

ISSUE

7502

VOLUME

509

Identifiers

URI

http://scigraph.springernature.com/pub.10.1038/nature13251

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature13251

DIMENSIONS

https://app.dimensions.ai/details/publication/pub.1028761879

PUBMED

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24717433


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27 schema:description How we sense touch remains fundamentally unknown. The Merkel cell-neurite complex is a gentle touch receptor in the skin that mediates slowly adapting responses of Aβ sensory fibres to encode fine details of objects. This mechanoreceptor complex was recognized to have an essential role in sensing gentle touch nearly 50 years ago. However, whether Merkel cells or afferent fibres themselves sense mechanical force is still debated, and the molecular mechanism of mechanotransduction is unknown. Synapse-like junctions are observed between Merkel cells and associated afferents, and yet it is unclear whether Merkel cells are inherently mechanosensitive or whether they can rapidly transmit such information to the neighbouring nerve. Here we show that Merkel cells produce touch-sensitive currents in vitro. Piezo2, a mechanically activated cation channel, is expressed in Merkel cells. We engineered mice deficient in Piezo2 in the skin, but not in sensory neurons, and show that Merkel-cell mechanosensitivity completely depends on Piezo2. In these mice, slowly adapting responses in vivo mediated by the Merkel cell-neurite complex show reduced static firing rates, and moreover, the mice display moderately decreased behavioural responses to gentle touch. Our results indicate that Piezo2 is the Merkel-cell mechanotransduction channel and provide the first line of evidence that Piezo channels have a physiological role in mechanosensation in mammals. Furthermore, our data present evidence for a two-receptor-site model, in which both Merkel cells and innervating afferents act together as mechanosensors. The two-receptor system could provide this mechanoreceptor complex with a tuning mechanism to achieve highly sophisticated responses to a given mechanical stimulus.
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38 Merkel cells
39 Merkel-cell mechanosensitivity
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41 Piezo channels
42 Piezo2
43 afferent fibers
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45 behavioral responses
46 cation channels
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56 detail
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60 fibers
61 fine details
62 firing rate
63 first line
64 force
65 gentle touch
66 gentle touch receptor
67 information
68 junction
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70 mammals
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73 mechanism
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75 mechanosensation
76 mechanosensitivity
77 mechanosensors
78 mechanotransduction
79 mechanotransduction channels
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