The Piezo channel is a mechano-sensitive complex component in the mammalian inner ear hair cell

Nat Commun. 2024 Jan 16;15(1):526. doi: 10.1038/s41467-023-44230-x.


The inner ear is the hub where hair cells (HCs) transduce sound, gravity, and head acceleration stimuli to the brain. Hearing and balance rely on mechanosensation, the fastest sensory signals transmitted to the brain. The mechanoelectrical transducer (MET) channel is the entryway for the sound-balance-brain interface, but the channel-complex composition is not entirely known. Here, we report that the mouse utilizes Piezo1 (Pz1) and Piezo2 (Pz2) isoforms as MET-complex components. The Pz channels, expressed in HC stereocilia, and cell lines are co-localized and co-assembled with MET complex partners. Mice expressing non-functional Pz1 and Pz2 at the ROSA26 locus have impaired auditory and vestibular traits that can only be explained if the Pzs are integral to the MET complex. We suggest that Pz subunits constitute part of the MET complex and that interactions with other MET complex components yield functional MET units to generate HC MET currents.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ear, Inner* / metabolism
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / metabolism
  • Hair Cells, Auditory, Inner* / metabolism
  • Hearing
  • Ion Channels / genetics
  • Ion Channels / metabolism
  • Mammals / metabolism
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular
  • Mice
  • Stereocilia / metabolism


  • Piezo1 protein, mouse
  • Ion Channels