Editors' ChoiceChannels

Touch and Go

Science's STKE  28 Mar 2000:
Vol. 2000, Issue 25, pp. tw6
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2000.25.tw6

In contrast to vision, olfaction, and taste perception, which utilize G protein-coupled receptors, sensing mechanical stimuli (such as touch and sound) is more direct. Mechanical stimuli are thought to regulate ion channels directly by converting mechanical forces into electrical signals. Walker et al. have identified such a channel in the sensory bristle neurons of Drosophila. A genetic screen coupled with direct electrophysiological recordings of neurons identified a new, distant member of the transient receptor potential (TRP) family of cation channels. The molecular identity of such a mechanosensory channel should allow further characterization of signaling mechanisms involved in sensing mechanical stimulation.

Walker, R.G., Willingham, A.T., and Zuker, C.S. (2000) A Drosophila mechanosensory transduction channel. Science 287: 2229-2234. [Abstract] [Full Text]

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