13 Oct 2017

The Mechanobiology of Ion Channels:  May the Force Be with You! 6 November 2017

HKU-Pasteur Research Pole and the State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology at HKU are please to invite you to attend a seminar given by Éric Honoré, from the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, French National Centre for Scientific Research/CNRS (Valbonne, Sophia Antipolis, France).

Date/Time: 11:30 am, Monday, 6th November 2017
Venue: Room 7-03, 7th Floor, HKJC Building for Inter-Disciplinary Research, 5 Sassoon Road, Pokfulam, Hong Kong



Opening of stretch-activated ion channels (SACs) is the earliest event occurring in mechanosensory transduction. The molecular identity of mammalian SACs has long remained a mystery. Only very recently, Piezo1 and Piezo2 were shown to be essential components of distinct SACs and moreover, purified Piezo1 forms non-selective cationic channels (i.e. permeable to sodium, potassium and calcium) when reconstituted into artificial bilayers. Human mutations in Piezo1/2 are associated with a variety of disease states, including xerocytosis, lymphatic dysplasia, arthrogryposis and muscle contracture. In addition, the 3D structures of mechanosensitive two-pore domain potassium channels (K2P) TREK1/2-TRAAK (i.e. selective for potassium), as well as Piezo1, have recently been solved, providing valuable information about selectivity and gating mechanisms of SACs. These recent studies allow a better understanding of the molecular basis of cellular mechanotransduction. I will review these new “exciting” findings, which hopefully will pave the road for the identification of novel therapeutic strategies.

Keywords: Electrophysiology; Mechanosensation; Mechanotransduction; Piezo1; TREK-1

Éric Honoré started his own group at the IPMC in 2005, focusing on polycystic kidney disease and associated arterial anomalies. His most recent work concerns the role of mechanosensitive ion channels in renovascular physiopathology, with a special focus on Piezo1. The group has demonstrated that opening of Piezo1 contributes to the arterial remodelling of small diameter arteries upon hypertension. The objective of the team is now to investigate the mechanobiology of adipose cells in the context of obesity.