Mechanically activated (MA) ion channels convert physical forces into electrical signals, and are essential for eukaryotic physiology. Despite their importance, few bona-fide MA channels have been described in plants and animals. Here, we show that various members of the OSCA and TMEM63 family of proteins from plants, flies, and mammals confer mechanosensitivity to naïve cells. We conclusively demonstrate that OSCA1.2, one of the Arabidopsis thaliana OSCA proteins, is an inherently mechanosensitive, pore-forming ion channel. Our results suggest that OSCA/ TMEM63 proteins are the largest family of MA ion channels identified, and are conserved across eukaryotes. Our findings will enable studies to gain deep insight into molecular mechanisms of MA channel gating, and will facilitate a better understanding of mechanosensory processes in vivo across plants and animals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Neuroscience
- General Immunology and Microbiology
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology