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The anchor domain is critical for Piezo1 channel mechanosensitivity
Channels  (IF2.581),  Pub Date : 2021-05-11, DOI: 10.1080/19336950.2021.1923199
Jinyuan Vero Li, Charles D Cox, Boris Martinac


The mechanosensitive channel Piezo1 is a crucial membrane mechanosensor ubiquitously expressed in mammalian cell types. Critical to its function in mechanosensory transduction is its ability to change conformation in response to applied mechanical force. Here, we interrogate the role of the anchor domain in the mechanically induced gating of human Piezo1 channels. Using the insertion of glycine residues at each corner of the triangular-shaped anchor domain to decouple this domain we provide evidence that the anchor is important in Piezo1 mechano-gating. Insertion of two extra glycine residues between the anchor and the outer helix of human Piezo1 causes abrogated inactivation and reduced mechanosensitivity. Whereas inserting two glycine residues at the apex of the anchor domain at the conserved amino acid P2113 causes the channel to be more sensitive to membrane forces. Correlation of stretch sensitivity with the volume of the neighboring amino acid, natively a phenylalanine (F2114), suggests this is caused by removal of steric hindrance on the inner pore-lining helix. Smaller volume amino acids at this residue increase sensitivity whereas larger volume reduces mechanosensitivity. The combined data show that the anchor domain is a critical region for Piezo1-mediated force transduction.