A critical role for Piezo2 channels in the mechanotransduction of mouse proprioceptive neurons
Authors: Florez-Paz D, Bali KK, Kuner R, Gomis A
CellNetworks People: Kuner Rohini
Journal: Sci Rep. 2016 May 17;6:25923. doi: 10.1038/srep25923

Proprioceptors are responsible for the conscious sensation of limb position and movement, muscle tension or force, and balance. Recent evidence suggests that Piezo2 is a low threshold mechanosensory receptor in the peripheral nervous system, acting as a transducer for touch sensation and proprioception. Thus, we characterized proprioceptive neurons in the mesencephalic trigeminal nucleus that are involved in processing proprioceptive information from the face and oral cavity. This is a specific population of neurons that produce rapidly adapting mechanically-activated currents that are fully dependent on Piezo2. As such, we analyzed the deficits in balance and coordination caused by the selective deletion of the channel in proprioceptors (conditional knockout). The data clearly shows that Piezo2 fulfills a critical role in a defined homogeneous population of proprioceptor neurons that innervate the head muscles, demonstrating that this ion channel is essential for mammalian proprioceptive mechanotransduction.