Xiao Bailong's group published 'Structural Designs and Mechanogating Mechanisms of the Mechanosensitive Piezo Channels' in Trends in Biochemical Sciences




Mechanotransduction by ion channels converts mechanical forces into biological signals.

Piezo1 is a versatile mechanotransduction channel for initiating Ca2+ signaling in various non-excitable cell types, and Piezo2 mainly functions in sensory neurons and specialized cell types such as Merkel cells for sensing touch, tactile pain, balance, breath, blood pressure, and bladder fullness.

Piezo1/2 form a three-bladed, propeller-like homotrimeric structure with the signature nano-bowl configuration of the highly curved TM region consisting of a total of 114 TM helices.

Recent studies show that Piezo channels might utilize a dual-gating mechanism, in which the TM gate might be regulated by the top cap, while the lateral plug gates are controlled by the blade beam via an elegant plug-and-latch mechanism.

Emerging models, including force-from-lipids and force-from-filament models, show how Piezo channels may respond to local changes of membrane curvature and tension and long-range mechanical perturbation across a cell.