Cells can respond to mechanical stress by gating mechanosensitive ion channels (MSCs). The cloning of Piezo1, a eukaryotic cation selective MSC, defines a new system for studying mechanical transduction at the cellular level. Because Piezo1 has electrophysiological properties similar to those of endogenous cationic MSCs that are selectively inhibited by the peptide GsMTx4, we tested whether the peptide targets Piezo1 activity. Extracellular GsMTx4 at micromolar concentrations reversibly inhibited ∼80% of the mechanically induced current of outside-out patches from transfected HEK293 cells. The inhibition was voltage insensitive, and as seen with endogenous MSCs, the mirror image d enantiomer inhibited like the l. The rate constants for binding and unbinding based on Piezo1 current kinetics provided association and dissociation rates of 7.0 × 10(5) M(-1) s(-1) and 0.11 s(-1), respectively, and a K(D) of ∼155 nM, similar to values previously reported for endogenous MSCs. Consistent with predicted gating modifier behavior, GsMTx4 produced an ∼30 mmHg rightward shift in the pressure-gating curve and was active on closed channels. In contrast, streptomycin, a nonspecific inhibitor of cationic MSCs, showed the use-dependent inhibition characteristic of open channel block. The peptide did not block currents of the mechanical channel TREK-1 on outside-out patches. Whole-cell Piezo1 currents were also reversibly inhibited by GsMTx4, and although the off rate was nearly identical to that of outside-out patches, differences were observed for the on rate. The ability of GsMTx4 to target the mechanosensitivity of Piezo1 supports the use of this channel in high-throughput screens for pharmacological agents and diagnostic assays.
© 2011 American Chemical Society