A stomatin-like protein necessary for mechanosensation in C. elegans.

Huang M, Gu G, Ferguson EL, Chalfie M
Nature. 1995 378 (6554): 292-5

PMID: 7477350 · DOI:10.1038/378292a0

The mec-2 gene is required for the function of a set of six touch receptor neurons in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans; mec-2 mutants, which are touch-insensitive, have touch cells that appear morphologically normal. Gene interaction studies suggest that mec-2 positively regulates the activity of the putative mechanosensory transduction channel (and the present paper), comprised in part of proteins encoded by the two degenerin genes mec-4 and mec-10 The central region of the mec-2 protein (MEC-2) is very similar to stomatin, an integral membrane protein (band 7.2b) in human red blood cells that is thought to regulate cation conductance. MEC-2-LacZ fusions are distributed along the touch receptor axons. This axonal distribution, which is mediated by the mec-2-specific amino terminus, is disrupted by mutations in mec-12, an alpha-tubulin gene needed for touch cell function. Our results indicate that MEC-2 links the mechanosensory channel and the microtubule cytoskeleton of the touch receptor neurons. Such linkage provides the basis for a mechanism of mechanosensation whereby microtubule displacement leads to channel opening.

MeSH Terms (18)

Amino Acid Sequence Animals Axons Blood Proteins Caenorhabditis elegans Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins Cloning, Molecular Exons Helminth Proteins Introns Mechanoreceptors Membrane Proteins Microtubules Molecular Sequence Data Mutation Recombinant Fusion Proteins Restriction Mapping Touch

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