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Touch sense : functional organization and molecular (...)

Channels (Austin). 2012 Jul-Aug ;6(4):234-45
Touch sense : functional organization and molecular determinants of mechanosensitive receptors.
Roudaut Y, Lonigro A, Coste B, Hao J, Delmas P, Crest M.

Cutaneous mechanoreceptors are localized in the various layers of the skin where they detect a wide range of mechanical stimuli, including light brush, stretch, vibration and noxious pressure. This variety of stimuli is matched by a diverse array of specialized mechanoreceptors that respond to cutaneous deformation in a specific way and relay these stimuli to higher brain structures. Studies across mechanoreceptors and genetically tractable sensory nerve endings are beginning to uncover touch sensation mechanisms. Work in this field has provided researchers with a more thorough understanding of the circuit organization underlying the perception of touch. Novel ion channels have emerged as candidates for transduction molecules and properties of mechanically gated currents improved our understanding of the mechanisms of adaptation to tactile stimuli. This review highlights the progress made in characterizing functional properties of mechanoreceptors in hairy and glabrous skin and ion channels that detect mechanical inputs and shape mechanoreceptor adaptation.


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