Activation of the caenorhabditis elegans degenerin channel by shear stress requires the MEC-10 subunit

Shujie Shi, Cliff J. Luke, Mark T. Miedel, Gary A. Silverman, Thomas R. Kleyman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Mechanotransduction in Caenorhabditis elegans touch receptor neurons is mediated by an ion channel formed by MEC-4, MEC-10, and accessory proteins. To define the role of these subunits in the channel's response to mechanical force, we expressed degenerin channels comprising MEC-4 and MEC-10 in Xenopus oocytes and examined their response to laminar shear stress (LSS). Shear stress evoked a rapid increase in whole cell currents in oocytes expressing degenerin channels as well as channels with a MEC-4 degenerin mutation (MEC-4d), suggesting that C. elegans degenerin channels are sensitive to LSS. MEC-10 is required for a robust LSS response as the response was largely blunted in oocytes expressing homomeric MEC-4 or MEC-4d channels. We examined a series of MEC-10/MEC-4 chimeras to identify specific domains (amino terminus, first transmembrane domain, and extracellular domain) and sites (residues 130-132 and 134-137) within MEC-10 that are required for a robust response to shear stress. In addition, the LSS response was largely abolished by MEC-10 mutations encoded by a touch-insensitive mec-10 allele, providing a correlation between the channel's responses to two different mechanical forces. Our findings suggest that MEC-10 has an important role in the channel's response to mechanical forces.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14012-14022
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number27
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016


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