Note to users. If you're seeing this message, it means that your browser cannot find this page's style/presentation instructions -- or possibly that you are using a browser that does not support current Web standards. Find out more about why this message is appearing, and what you can do to make your experience of our site the best it can be.


Logo for

Science 335 (6074): 1373-1376

Copyright © 2012 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

The Transcription Factor c-Maf Controls Touch Receptor Development and Function

Hagen Wende,1 Stefan G. Lechner,2 Cyril Cheret,1 Steeve Bourane,3 Maria E. Kolanczyk,1 Alexandre Pattyn,4 Katja Reuter,1,* Francis L. Munier,5 Patrick Carroll,4 Gary R. Lewin,2 Carmen Birchmeier1,{dagger}

Abstract: The sense of touch relies on detection of mechanical stimuli by specialized mechanosensory neurons. The scarcity of molecular data has made it difficult to analyze development of mechanoreceptors and to define the basis of their diversity and function. We show that the transcription factor c-Maf/c-MAF is crucial for mechanosensory function in mice and humans. The development and function of several rapidly adapting mechanoreceptor types are disrupted in c-Maf mutant mice. In particular, Pacinian corpuscles, a type of mechanoreceptor specialized to detect high-frequency vibrations, are severely atrophied. In line with this, sensitivity to high-frequency vibration is reduced in humans carrying a dominant mutation in the c-MAF gene. Thus, our work identifies a key transcription factor specifying development and function of mechanoreceptors and their end organs.

1 Developmental Biology, Max Delbrück Center (MDC) for Molecular Medicine, Robert-Rössle-Strasse 10, 13125 Berlin, Germany.
2 Molecular Physiology, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Robert-Rössle-Strasse 10, 13125 Berlin, Germany.
3 Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory, Salk Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.
4 INSERM U.1051, 80 Rue Augustin Fliche, 34091 Montpellier cedex 05, France.
5 Jules Gonin Eye Hospital, Avenue de France 15, 1004 Lausanne, Switzerland.

* Present address: University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA.

{dagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: cbirch{at}

Activation of MAPK overrides the termination of myelin growth and replaces Nrg1/ErbB3 signals during Schwann cell development and myelination.
M. E. Sheean, E. McShane, C. Cheret, J. Walcher, T. Muller, A. Wulf-Goldenberg, S. Hoelper, A. N. Garratt, M. Kruger, K. Rajewsky, et al. (2014)
Genes & Dev. 28, 290-303
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
The structure and organization of lanceolate mechanosensory complexes at mouse hair follicles.
L. Li and D. D. Ginty (2014)
eLife Sci 3, e01901
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
A Gata3-Mafb transcriptional network directs post-synaptic differentiation in synapses specialized for hearing.
W.-M. Yu, J. M. Appler, Y.-H. Kim, A. M. Nishitani, J. R. Holt, and L. V. Goodrich (2013)
eLife Sci 2, e01341
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Stomatin-domain protein interactions with acid-sensing ion channels modulate nociceptor mechanosensitivity.
R. A. Moshourab, C. Wetzel, C. Martinez-Salgado, and G. R. Lewin (2013)
J. Physiol. 591, 5555-5574
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Bace1 and Neuregulin-1 cooperate to control formation and maintenance of muscle spindles.
C. Cheret, M. Willem, F. R. Fricker, H. Wende, A. Wulf-Goldenberg, S. Tahirovic, K.-A. Nave, P. Saftig, C. Haass, A. N. Garratt, et al. (2013)
EMBO J. 32, 2015-2028
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Hairy Sensation.
S. G. Lechner and G. R. Lewin (2013)
Physiology 28, 142-150
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Genome-Wide Expression Analysis of Ptf1a- and Ascl1-Deficient Mice Reveals New Markers for Distinct Dorsal Horn Interneuron Populations Contributing to Nociceptive Reflex Plasticity.
H. Wildner, R. Das Gupta, D. Brohl, P. A. Heppenstall, H. U. Zeilhofer, and C. Birchmeier (2013)
J. Neurosci. 33, 7299-7307
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Runx1 Controls Terminal Morphology and Mechanosensitivity of VGLUT3-expressing C-Mechanoreceptors.
S. Lou, B. Duan, L. Vong, B. B. Lowell, and Q. Ma (2013)
J. Neurosci. 33, 870-882
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Nerve endings reveal hidden diversity in the skin.
E. E. Turner (2012)
eLife Sci 1, e00352
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »

To Advertise     Find Products

Science Signaling. ISSN 1937-9145 (online), 1945-0877 (print). Pre-2008: Science's STKE. ISSN 1525-8882