Piezo Proteins: Regulators of Mechanosensation and Other Cellular Processes [Neurobiology]

October 10th, 2014 by Bagriantsev, S. N., Gracheva, E. O., Gallagher, P. G.

Piezo proteins have recently been identified as ion channels mediating mechanosensory transduction in mammalian cells. Characterization of these channels has yielded important insights into mechanisms of somatosensation, as well as other mechano-associated biologic processes such as sensing of shear stress, particularly in the vasculature, and regulation of urine flow and bladder distention. Other roles for Piezo proteins have emerged, some unexpected, including participation in cellular development, volume regulation, cellular migration, proliferation, and elongation. Mutations in human Piezo proteins have been associated with a variety of disorders including hereditary xerocytosis and several syndromes with muscular contracture a prominent feature.