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Nat Protoc. 2011 Jun 16;6(7):979-90. doi: 10.1038/nprot.2011.343.

Recording of mechanosensitive currents using piezoelectrically driven mechanostimulator.

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Centre de Recherche en Neurobiologie et Neurophysiologie de Marseille, Université de la Méditerranée, Marseille, France.


Mechanotransduction constitutes the basis of a variety of physiological processes, such as the senses of touch, balance, proprioception and hearing. In vertebrates, mechanosensation is mediated by mechanosensory receptors. The aptitude of these mechanoreceptors for detecting mechanical information relies on the presence of mechanosensitive channels that transform mechanical forces into electrical signals. However, advances in understanding mechanical transduction processes have proven difficult because sensory nerve endings have historically been inaccessible to patch-clamp recording. We report here an in vitro model of mechanotransduction that allows the application of focal force on sensory neuron membrane during whole-cell patch clamping. This technique, called mechano-clamp, provides an opportunity to explore the properties and identities of mechanotransducer channels in mammalian sensory neurons. The protocol-from tissue dissociation to patch-clamp recording-can be completed in 7 h.

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