National Center for
3JAC: Cryo-em Study Of A Channel
Nature (2015) 527 p.64-69
Piezo proteins are evolutionarily conserved and functionally diverse mechanosensitive cation channels. However, the overall structural architecture and gating mechanisms of Piezo channels have remained unknown. Here we determine the cryo-electron microscopy structure of the full-length (2,547 amino acids) mouse Piezo1 (Piezo1) at a resolution of 4.8 A. Piezo1 forms a trimeric propeller-like structure (about 900 kilodalton), with the extracellular domains resembling three distal blades and a central cap. The transmembrane region has 14 apparently resolved segments per subunit. These segments form three peripheral wings and a central pore module that encloses a potential ion-conducting pore. The rather flexible extracellular blade domains are connected to the central intracellular domain by three long beam-like structures. This trimeric architecture suggests that Piezo1 may use its peripheral regions as force sensors to gate the central ion-conducting pore.