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Pflugers Arch. 2007 Aug;454(5):691-702. Epub 2007 Feb 7.

Touch sensitivity in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, 1012 Fairchild, MC#2446, 1012 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10027, USA.


The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans was the first organism for which touch insensitive mutants were obtained. The study of the genes defective in these mutants has led to the identification of components of a mechanosensory complex needed for specific cells to sense gentle touch to the body. Multiple approaches using genetics, cell biology, biochemistry, and electrophysiology have characterized a channel complex, containing two DEG/ENaC pore-forming subunits and several other proteins, that transduces the touch response. Other mechanical responses, sensed by other cells using a variety of other components, are less well understood in C. elegans. Many of these other senses may use TRP channels, although DEG/ENaC channels have also been implicated.

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