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Papers of the Week

Papers: 24 Aug 2019 - 30 Aug 2019

Animal Studies

2019 Sep




Editor's Pick

Structure and mechanogating of the mammalian tactile channel PIEZO2.


Wang L, Zhou H, Zhang M, Liu W, Deng T, Zhao Q, Li Y, Lei J, Li X, Xiao B
Nature. 2019 Sep; 573(7773):225-229.
PMID: 31435011.


PIEZO2 is a mechanosensitive cation channel that has a key role in sensing touch, tactile pain, breathing and blood pressure. Here we describe the cryo-electron microscopy structure of mouse PIEZO2, which is a three-bladed, propeller-like trimer that comprises 114 transmembrane helices (38 per protomer). Transmembrane helices 1-36 (TM1-36) are folded into nine tandem units of four transmembrane helices each to form the unusual non-planar blades. The three blades are collectively curved into a nano-dome of 28-nm diameter and 10-nm depth, with an extracellular cap-like structure embedded in the centre and a 9-nm-long intracellular beam connecting to the central pore. TM38 and the C-terminal domain are surrounded by the anchor domain and TM37, and enclose the central pore with both transmembrane and cytoplasmic constriction sites. Structural comparison between PIEZO2 and its homologue PIEZO1 reveals that the transmembrane constriction site might act as a transmembrane gate that is controlled by the cap domain. Together, our studies provide insights into the structure and mechanogating mechanism of Piezo channels.