Mechanosensation provides two of the 5 fundamental senses integral to human sensation-touch and hearing. Surprisingly, the seemingly simple sense of "touch" lacks a satisfactory molecular description in eukaryotes. The question remains: How do molecules in a cell sense and transduce mechanical force in tissue? In mammals ion channels are believed to play a role in mechanosensation;however, studies of mechanosensitive channels have failed to identify a clear structural domain or feature responsible for sensing mechanical force. Absent a clear mechanism for mechanosensation in humans, testable hypotheses are needed to arrive at a correct model. This proposal presents an argument that lipid interactions with ion channels are important to mechano sensation. Forming a molecular description of force transduction will, one, complete our understanding of sensory perception and, two, reveal targets for therapeutic intervention in pain and hearing loss.
|Hansen, Scott B (2015) Lipid agonism: The PIP2 paradigm of ligand-gated ion channels. Biochim Biophys Acta 1851:620-8|