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      Piezo2 integrates mechanical and thermal cues in vertebrate mechanoreceptors

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      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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          Abstract

          Tactile information is detected by thermoreceptors and mechanoreceptors in the skin and integrated by the central nervous system to produce the perception of somatosensation. Here we investigate the mechanism by which thermal and mechanical stimuli begin to interact and report that it is achieved by the mechanotransduction apparatus in cutaneous mechanoreceptors. We show that moderate cold potentiates the conversion of mechanical force into excitatory current in all types of mechanoreceptors from mice and tactile-specialist birds. This effect is observed at the level of mechanosensitive Piezo2 channels and can be replicated in heterologous systems using Piezo2 orthologs from different species. The cold sensitivity of Piezo2 is dependent on its blade domains, which render the channel resistant to cold-induced perturbations of the physical properties of the plasma membrane and give rise to a different mechanism of mechanical activation than that of Piezo1. Our data reveal that Piezo2 is an evolutionarily conserved mediator of thermal–tactile integration in cutaneous mechanoreceptors.

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          Most cited references 52

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          Mechanosensing is critical for axon growth in the developing brain

          During nervous system development, neurons extend axons along well-defined pathways. The current understanding of axon pathfinding is based mainly on chemical signalling. However, growing neurons interact not only chemically but also mechanically with their environment. Here we identify mechanical signals as important regulators of axon pathfinding. In vitro, substrate stiffness determined growth patterns of Xenopus retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons. In vivo atomic force microscopy revealed striking stiffness gradient patterns in the embryonic brain. RGC axons grew towards the tissue’s softer side, which was reproduced in vitro in the absence of chemical gradients. To test the importance of mechanical signals for axon growth in vivo, we altered brain stiffness, blocked mechanotransduction pharmacologically, and knocked down the mechanosensitive ion channel Piezo1. All treatments resulted in aberrant axonal growth and pathfinding errors, suggesting that local tissue stiffness–read out by mechanosensitive ion channels–is critically involved in instructing neuronal growth in vivo.
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            Removal of the mechanoprotective influence of the cytoskeleton reveals PIEZO1 is gated by bilayer tension

            Mechanosensitive ion channels are force-transducing enzymes that couple mechanical stimuli to ion flux. Understanding the gating mechanism of mechanosensitive channels is challenging because the stimulus seen by the channel reflects forces shared between the membrane, cytoskeleton and extracellular matrix. Here we examine whether the mechanosensitive channel PIEZO1 is activated by force-transmission through the bilayer. To achieve this, we generate HEK293 cell membrane blebs largely free of cytoskeleton. Using the bacterial channel MscL, we calibrate the bilayer tension demonstrating that activation of MscL in blebs is identical to that in reconstituted bilayers. Utilizing a novel PIEZO1–GFP fusion, we then show PIEZO1 is activated by bilayer tension in bleb membranes, gating at lower pressures indicative of removal of the cortical cytoskeleton and the mechanoprotection it provides. Thus, PIEZO1 channels must sense force directly transmitted through the bilayer.
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              Transmitting pain and itch messages: a contemporary view of the spinal cord circuits that generate gate control.

              The original formulation of Gate Control Theory (GCT) proposed that the perception of pain produced by spinal cord signaling to the brain depends on a balance of activity generated in large (nonnociceptive)- and small (nociceptive)-diameter primary afferent fibers. The theory proposed that activation of the large-diameter afferent "closes" the gate by engaging a superficial dorsal horn interneuron that inhibits the firing of projection neurons. Activation of the nociceptors "opens" the gate through concomitant excitation of projection neurons and inhibition of the inhibitory interneurons. Sixty years after publication of the GCT, we are faced with an ever-growing list of morphologically and neurochemically distinct spinal cord interneurons. The present Review highlights the complexity of superficial dorsal horn circuitry and addresses the question whether the premises outlined in GCT still have relevance today. By examining the dorsal horn circuits that underlie the transmission of "pain" and "itch" messages, we also address the extent to which labeled lines can be incorporated into a contemporary view of GCT. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proc Natl Acad Sci USA
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                0027-8424
                1091-6490
                August 27 2019
                August 27 2019
                August 27 2019
                August 14 2019
                : 116
                : 35
                : 17547-17555
                Article
                10.1073/pnas.1910213116
                6717272
                31413193
                c6421236-91e0-428b-9ad3-39e54c2a12de
                © 2019

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