Telling Sandpaper from Satin

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Science Signaling  20 Mar 2012:
Vol. 5, Issue 216, pp. ec90
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2003048

Pacinian corpuscles are mechanoreceptors tuned to detect high-frequency, low-amplitude signals. Found in human palm and fingertips, they are useful for discrimination of rough and smooth textures, a sensitivity seemingly amplified by the ridges of fingerprints. Wende et al. identified a mutation in humans that disrupts this sensitivity to texture but leaves other facets of touch, such as tactile spatial acuity, intact.

H. Wende, S. G. Lechner, C. Cheret, S. Bourane, M. E. Kolanczyk, A. Pattyn, K. Reuter, F. L. Munier, P. Carroll, G. R. Lewin, C. Birchmeier, The transcription factor c-Maf controls touch receptor development and function. Science 335, 1373–1376 (2012). [Abstract] [Full Text]