Genetics of sensory mechanotransduction

Annu Rev Genet. 2002;36:411-53. doi: 10.1146/annurev.genet.36.061802.101708.


The molecular mechanisms for the transduction of light and chemical signals in animals are fairly well understood. In contrast, the processes by which the senses of touch, balance, hearing, and proprioception are transduced are still largely unknown. Biochemical approaches to identify transduction components are difficult to use with mechanosensory systems, but genetic approaches are proving more successful. Genetic research in several organisms has demonstrated the importance of cytoskeletal, extracellular, and membrane components for sensory mechanotransduction. In particular, researchers have identified channel proteins in the DEG/ENaC and TRP families that are necessary for signaling in a variety of mechanosensory cells. Proof that these proteins are components of the transduction channel, however, is incomplete.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular / genetics*
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular / physiology