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  1. This Viewpoint, which accompanies a Special Issue focusing on membrane mechanosensors, discusses unifying and unique features of both established and emerging mechanosensitive (MS) membrane proteins, their distribution across protein families and phyla, and current and future challenges in the study of these important proteins and their partners. MS membrane proteins are essential for tissue development, cellular motion, osmotic homeostasis, and sensing external and self-generated mechanical cues like those responsible for touch and proprioception. Though researchers’ attention and this Viewpoint focus on a few famous ion channels that are considered the usual suspects as MS mechanosensors, we also discuss some of the more unusual suspects, such as G-protein coupled receptors. As the field continues to grow, so too will the list of proteins suspected to function as mechanosensors and the diversity of known MS membrane proteins.

    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 4, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  3. Abstract The ability to sense and respond to physical forces is critical for the proper function of cells, tissues, and organisms across the evolutionary tree. Plants sense gravity, osmotic conditions, pathogen invasion, wind, and the presence of barriers in the soil, and dynamically integrate internal and external stimuli during every stage of growth and development. While the field of plant mechanobiology is growing, much is still poorly understood—including the interplay between mechanical and biochemical information at the single-cell level. In this review, we provide an overview of the mechanical properties of three main components of the plant cell and the mechanoperceptive pathways that link them, with an emphasis on areas of complexity and interaction. We discuss the concept of mechanical homeostasis, or “mechanostasis,” and examine the ways in which cellular structures and pathways serve to maintain it. We argue that viewing mechanics and mechanotransduction as emergent properties of the plant cell can be a useful conceptual framework for synthesizing current knowledge and driving future research.
  4. Abstract

    Cells employ multiple systems to maintain cellular integrity, including mechanosensitive ion channels and the cell wall integrity (CWI) pathway. Here, we use pollen as a model system to ask how these different mechanisms are interconnected at the cellular level. MscS-Like 8 (MSL8) is a mechanosensitive channel required to protect Arabidopsis thaliana pollen from osmotic challenges during in vitro rehydration, germination, and tube growth. New CRISPR/Cas9 and artificial miRNA-generated msl8 alleles produced unexpected pollen phenotypes, including the ability to germinate a tube after bursting, dramatic defects in cell wall structure, and disorganized callose deposition at the germination site. We document complex genetic interactions between MSL8 and two previously established components of the CWI pathway, MARIS and ANXUR1/2. Overexpression of MARISR240C-FP suppressed the bursting, germination, and callose deposition phenotypes of msl8 mutant pollen. Null msl8 alleles suppressed the internalized callose structures observed in MARISR240C-FP lines. Similarly, MSL8-YFP overexpression suppressed bursting in the anxur1/2 mutant background, while anxur1/2 alleles reduced the strong rings of callose around ungerminated pollen grains in MSL8-YFP overexpressors. These data show that mechanosensitive ion channels modulate callose deposition in pollen and provide evidence that cell wall and membrane surveillance systems coordinate in a complex manner to maintain cellmore »integrity.

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  5. In animals, PIEZOs are plasma membrane–localized cation channels involved in diverse mechanosensory processes. We investigated PIEZO function in tip-growing cells in the mossPhyscomitrium patensand the flowering plantArabidopsis thaliana.PpPIEZO1 andPpPIEZO2 redundantly contribute to the normal growth, size, and cytoplasmic calcium oscillations of caulonemal cells. BothPpPIEZO1 andPpPIEZO2 localized to vacuolar membranes. Loss-of-function, gain-of-function, and overexpression mutants revealed that moss PIEZO homologs promote increased complexity of vacuolar membranes through tubulation, internalization, and/or fission.ArabidopsisPIEZO1 also localized to the tonoplast and is required for vacuole tubulation in the tips of pollen tubes. We propose that in plant cells the tonoplast has more freedom of movement than the plasma membrane, making it a more effective location for mechanosensory proteins.

  6. With growing populations and pressing environmental problems, future economies will be increasingly plant-based. Now is the time to reimagine plant science as a critical component of fundamental science, agriculture, environmental stewardship, energy, technology and healthcare. This effort requires a conceptual and technological framework to identify and map all cell types, and to comprehensively annotate the localization and organization of molecules at cellular and tissue levels. This framework, called the Plant Cell Atlas (PCA), will be critical for understanding and engineering plant development, physiology and environmental responses. A workshop was convened to discuss the purpose and utility of such an initiative, resulting in a roadmap that acknowledges the current knowledge gaps and technical challenges, and underscores how the PCA initiative can help to overcome them.