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Title: Distinct mechanoreceptor pezo-1 isoforms modulate food intake in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans
Two PIEZO mechanosensitive cation channels, PIEZO1 and PIEZO2, have been identified in mammals, where they are involved in numerous sensory processes. While structurally similar, PIEZO channels are expressed in distinct tissues and exhibit unique properties. How different PIEZOs transduce force, how their transduction mechanism varies, and how their unique properties match the functional needs of the distinct tissues where they are expressed remain all-important unanswered questions. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has a single PIEZO ortholog (pezo-1) predicted to have twelve isoforms. These isoforms share many transmembrane domains, but differ in those that distinguish PIEZO1 and PIEZO2 in mammals. Here we use translational and transcriptional reporters to show that long pezo-1 isoforms are selectively expressed in mesodermally derived tissues (such as muscle and glands). In contrast, shorter pezo-1 isoforms are primarily expressed in neurons. In the digestive system, different pezo-1 isoforms appear to be expressed in different cells of the same organ. We show that pharyngeal muscles, glands, and valve rely on long pezo-1 isoforms to respond appropriately to the presence of food. The unique pattern of complementary expression of pezo-1 isoforms suggest that different isoforms possess distinct functions. The number of pezo-1 isoforms in C. elegans, their differential pattern of more » expression, and their roles in experimentally tractable processes make this an attractive system to investigate the molecular basis for functional differences between members of the PIEZO family of mechanoreceptors. « less
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National Science Foundation
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