Activation of mechanosensitive proteins with light to see their functioning more clearly

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Thomas Grutter's team has developed a new method to activate mechanosensitive proteins using light.

PIEZO proteins form mechanically activated ion channels and are involved in numerous physiological functions such as the perception of touch, the regulation of blood pressure or cell differentiation.

The activation of PIEZO channels requires a sophisticated system for applying mechanical forces to the cell which is extremely difficult to implement in the laboratory and which presents no specificity.

The results, published in the journal Nature Communications, open the way to new investigations into the biology of these channels.

Peralta F. A., Balcon M., Martz A., Biljali D., Cevoli F., Arnould B., Taly A., Chataigneau T., Grutter T. “Optical control of PIEZO1 channels,” Nat. Commun., (2023) 14 (1), 1269. (DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-36931-0).