Mechanosensitive membrane proteins: Usual and unusual suspects in mediating mechanotransduction

J Gen Physiol. 2023 Mar 6;155(3):e202213248. doi: 10.1085/jgp.202213248. Epub 2023 Jan 25.


This Viewpoint, which accompanies a Special Issue focusing on membrane mechanosensors, discusses unifying and unique features of both established and emerging mechanosensitive (MS) membrane proteins, their distribution across protein families and phyla, and current and future challenges in the study of these important proteins and their partners. MS membrane proteins are essential for tissue development, cellular motion, osmotic homeostasis, and sensing external and self-generated mechanical cues like those responsible for touch and proprioception. Though researchers' attention and this Viewpoint focus on a few famous ion channels that are considered the usual suspects as MS mechanosensors, we also discuss some of the more unusual suspects, such as G-protein coupled receptors. As the field continues to grow, so too will the list of proteins suspected to function as mechanosensors and the diversity of known MS membrane proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Ion Channels* / metabolism
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular / physiology
  • Membrane Proteins* / metabolism


  • Ion Channels
  • Membrane Proteins