Piezo1 Channels Are Inherently Mechanosensitive

Ruhma Syeda, Maria N. Florendo, Charles D. Cox, Jennifer M. Kefauver, Jose S. Santos, Boris Martinac, Ardem Patapoutian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

239 Scopus citations


The conversion of mechanical force to chemical signals is critical for many biological processes, including the senses of touch, pain, and hearing. Mechanosensitive ion channels play a key role in sensing the mechanical stimuli experienced by various cell types and are present in organisms from bacteria to mammals. Bacterial mechanosensitive channels are characterized thoroughly, but less is known about their counterparts in vertebrates. Piezos have been recently established as ion channels required for mechanotransduction in disparate cell types in vitro and in vivo. Overexpression of Piezos in heterologous cells gives rise to large mechanically activated currents; however, it is unclear whether Piezos are inherently mechanosensitive or rely on alternate cellular components to sense mechanical stimuli. Here, we show that mechanical perturbations of the lipid bilayer alone are sufficient to activate Piezo channels, illustrating their innate ability as molecular force transducers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1739-1746
Number of pages8
JournalCell Reports
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 8 2016


  • Piezo1
  • lipid bilayer
  • mechanosensitive ion channel
  • mechanotransduction
  • membrane asymmetry
  • membrane tension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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