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The Piezo2 ion channel is mechanically activated by low-threshold positive pressure
AuthorShin, Kyung C.
Park, Hyun J.
Kim, Jae G.
Lee, In H.
Sung, Tae S.
Koh, Sang D.
Park, Sang W.
Bae, Young M.
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Recent parallel studies clearly indicated that Merkel cells and the mechanosensitive piezo2 ion channel play critical roles in the light-touch somatosensation. Moreover, piezo2 was suggested to be a light-touch sensing ion channel without a role in pain sensing in mammals. However, biophysical characteristics of piezo2, such as single channel conductance and sensitivities to various mechanical stimuli, are unclear, hampering a precise understanding of its role in touch sensation. Here, we describe the biophysical properties of piezo2 in human Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC)-13 cells piezo2 is a low-threshold, positive pressure-specific, curvature-sensitive, mechanically activated cation channel with a single channel conductance of -28.6 pS. Application of step indentations under the whole-cell mode of the patch-clamp technique, and positive pressures >= 5 mmHg under the cell-attached mode, activated piezo2 currents in MCC-13 and human embryonic kidney 293T cells where piezo2 was overexpressed. By contrast, application of a negative pressure failed to activate piezo2 in these cells, whereas both positive and negative pressure activated piezo1 in a similar manner. Our results are the first to demonstrate single channel recordings of piezo2. We anticipate that our findings will be a starting point for a more sophisticated understanding of piezo2 roles in light-touch sensation.