Subunit composition of a DEG/ENaC mechanosensory channel of Caenorhabditis elegans

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Yushu ChenMartin Chalfie


Caenorhabditis elegans senses gentle touch in the six touch receptor neurons (TRNs) using a mechanotransduction complex that contains the pore-forming degenerin/epithelial sodium channel (DEG/ENaC) proteins MEC-4 and MEC-10. Past work has suggested these proteins interact with the paraoxonase-like MEC-6 and the cholesterol-binding stomatin-like MEC-2 proteins. Using single molecule optical imaging in Xenopus oocytes, we found that MEC-4 forms homotrimers and MEC-4 and MEC-10 form 4:4:10 heterotrimers. MEC-6 and MEC-2 do not associate tightly with these trimers and do not influence trimer stoichiometry, indicating that they are not part of the core channel transduction complex. Consistent with the in vitro data, MEC-10, but not MEC-6, formed puncta in TRN neurites that colocalize with MEC-4 when MEC-4 is overexpressed in the TRNs.


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Related Concepts

trimer core
MEC-10 protein, C elegans
Epithelial sodium channel
Meissner's Corpuscle
Caenorhabditis elegans
C-C Motif Chemokine 28
Xenopus Oocyte
MEC-6 protein, C elegans

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