Mammalian Mechanoreception

  • Yalda Moayedi
  • Masashi Nakatani
  • Ellen Lumpkin
Part of the Scholarpedia book series (SCHP)


Mechanotransduction, the conversion of mechanical stimuli into biochemical or electrical signals within cells, is necessary for many aspects of development, homeostasis and sensation (Chalfie, Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 10: 44–52, 2009).


Hair Follicle Dorsal Root Ganglion Neuron Glabrous Skin Pacinian Corpuscle Guard Hair 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Abraira, V E and Ginty, D D (2013). The sensory neurons of touch. Neuron 79: 618–639.Google Scholar
  2. Bautista, D M and Lumpkin, E A (2011). Perspectives on: Information and coding in mammalian sensory physiology: Probing mammalian touch transduction. The Journal of General Physiology 138: 291–301.Google Scholar
  3. Bell, J; Bolanowski, S and Holmes, M H (1994). The structure and function of Pacinian corpuscles: A review. Progress in Neurobiology 42: 79–128.Google Scholar
  4. Boada, M D and Woodbury, C J (2007). Physiological properties of mouse skin sensory neurons recorded intracellularly in vivo: Temperature effects on somal membrane properties. Journal of Neurophysiology 98: 668–680.Google Scholar
  5. Bouet, V et al. (2009). The adhesive removal test: a sensitive method to assess sensorimotor deficits in mice. Nature Protocols 4: 1560–1564.Google Scholar
  6. Bradbury, E J et al. (2002). Chondroitinase ABC promotes functional recovery after spinal cord injury. Nature 416: 636–640.Google Scholar
  7. Brisben, A J; Hsiao, S S and Johnson, K O (1999). Detection of vibration transmitted through an object grasped in the hand. Journal of Neurophysiology 81: 1548–1558.Google Scholar
  8. Brown, A G and Iggo, A (1967). A quantitative study of cutaneous receptors and afferent fibres in the cat and rabbit. Journal of Physiology 193: 707–733.Google Scholar
  9. Cain, D M; Khasabov, S G and Simone, D A (2001). Response properties of mechanoreceptors and nociceptors in mouse glabrous skin: An in vivo study. Journal of Neurophysiology 85: 1561–1574.Google Scholar
  10. Cauna, N (1956). Nerve supply and nerve endings in Meissner’s corpuscles. American Journal of Anatomy 99: 315–350.Google Scholar
  11. Cauna, N and Mannan, G (1958). The structure of human digital pacinian corpuscles (corpuscula lamellosa) and its functional significance. Journal of Anatomy 92: 1–20.Google Scholar
  12. Chalfie, M (2009). Neurosensory mechanotransduction. Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 10: 44–52.Google Scholar
  13. Chambers, M R; Andres, K H; von Duering, M and Iggo, A (1972). The structure and function of the slowly adapting type II mechanoreceptor in hairy skin. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Physiology and Cognate Medical Sciences 57: 417–445.Google Scholar
  14. Coste, B et al. (2010). Piezo1 and Piezo2 are essential components of distinct mechanically activated cation channels. Science 330: 55–60.Google Scholar
  15. Dixon, W J (1980). Efficient analysis of experimental observations. Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology 20: 441–462.Google Scholar
  16. Duverger, O and Morasso, M I (2009). Epidermal patterning and induction of different hair types during mouse embryonic development. Birth Defects Research Part C: Embryo Today 87: 263–272.Google Scholar
  17. Ebara, S; Kumamoto, K; Matsuura, T; Mazurkiewicz, J E and Rice, F L (2002). Similarities and differences in the innervation of mystacial vibrissal follicle-sinus complexes in the rat and cat: A confocal microscopic study. Journal of Comparative Neurology 449: 103–119.Google Scholar
  18. Garrison, S R; Dietrich, A and Stucky, C L (2012). TRPC1 contributes to light-touch sensation and mechanical responses in low-threshold cutaneous sensory neurons. Journal of Neurophysiology 107: 913–922.Google Scholar
  19. Halata, Z (1975). The mechanoreceptors of the mammalian skin ultrastructure and morphological classification. Advances in Anatomy, Embryology and Cell Biology 50: 3–77.Google Scholar
  20. Halata, Z; Grim, M and Bauman, K I (2003). Friedrich Sigmund Merkel and his “Merkel cell,” morphology, development, and physiology: Review and new results. The Anatomical Record. Part A, Discoveries in Molecular, Cellular, and Evolutionary Biology 271: 225–239.Google Scholar
  21. Iggo, A and Muir, A R (1969). The structure and function of a slowly adapting touch corpuscle in hairy skin. Journal of Physiology 200: 763–796.Google Scholar
  22. Ikeda, R et al. 2014. Merkel cells transduce and encode tactile stimuli to drive Abeta-afferent impulses. Cell 157: 664–675.Google Scholar
  23. Johansson, R S (1978). Tactile sensibility in the human hand: receptive field characteristics of mechanoreceptive units in the glabrous skin area. Journal of Physiology 281: 101–125.Google Scholar
  24. Johnson, K O (2001). The roles and functions of cutaneous mechanoreceptors. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 11: 455–461.Google Scholar
  25. Johnson, K O; Yoshioka, T and Vega-Bermudez, F (2000). Tactile functions of mechanoreceptive afferents innervating the hand. Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology 17: 539–558.Google Scholar
  26. Kazmierczak, P and Muller, U (2012). Sensing sound: Molecules that orchestrate mechanotransduction by hair cells. Trends in Neuroscience 35: 220–229.Google Scholar
  27. Koltzenburg, M; Stucky, C L and Lewin, G R (1997). Receptive properties of mouse sensory neurons innervating hairy skin. Journal of Neurophysiology 78: 1841–1850.Google Scholar
  28. Lechner, S G and Lewin, G R (2013). Hairy sensation. Physiology (Bethesda) 28: 142–150.Google Scholar
  29. Lesniak, D R et al. (2014). Computation identifies structural features that govern neuronal firing properties in slowly adapting touch receptors. eLife 3: e01488.Google Scholar
  30. Li, J et al. (2014). Piezo1 integration of vascular architecture with physiological force. Nature 515: 279–282.Google Scholar
  31. Li, L and Ginty, D D (2014). The structure and organization of lanceolate mechanosensory complexes at mouse hair follicles. eLife 3: e01901.Google Scholar
  32. Li, L et al. (2011). The functional organization of cutaneous low-threshold mechanosensory neurons. Cell 147: 1615–1627.Google Scholar
  33. Liu, Q et al. (2007). Molecular genetic visualization of a rare subset of unmyelinated sensory neurons that may detect gentle touch. Nature Neuroscience 10: 946–948.Google Scholar
  34. Macefield, V G (2005). Physiological characteristics of low-threshold mechanoreceptors in joints, muscle and skin in human subjects. Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology 32: 135–144.Google Scholar
  35. Maksimovic, S; Baba, Y and Lumpkin, E A (2013). Neurotransmitters and synaptic components in the Merkel cell-neurite complex, a gentle-touch receptor. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1279: 13–21.Google Scholar
  36. Maksimovic, S et al. (2014). Epidermal Merkel cells are mechanosensory cells that tune mammalian touch receptors. Nature 509: 617–621.Google Scholar
  37. Maricich, S M; Morrison, K M; Mathes, E L and Brewer, B M (2012). Rodents rely on Merkel cells for texture discrimination tasks. The Journal of Neuroscience 32: 3296–3300.Google Scholar
  38. Morrison, K M; Miesegaes, G R; Lumpkin, E A and Maricich, S M (2009). Mammalian Merkel cells are descended from the epidermal lineage. Developmental Biology 336: 76–83.Google Scholar
  39. Pare, M; Elde, R; Mazurkiewicz, J E; Smith, A M and Rice, F L (2001). The Meissner corpuscle revised: A multiafferented mechanoreceptor with nociceptor immunochemical properties. The Journal of Neuroscience 21: 7236–7246.Google Scholar
  40. Poole, K; Herget, R; Lapatsina, L; Ngo, H D and Lewin, G R (2014). Tuning Piezo ion channels to detect molecular-scale movements relevant for fine touch. Nature Communications 5: 3520.Google Scholar
  41. Ranade, S S et al. (2014a). Piezo1, a mechanically activated ion channel, is required for vascular development in mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 111: 10347–10352.Google Scholar
  42. Ranade, S S et al. (2014b). Piezo2 is the major transducer of mechanical forces for touch sensation in mice. Nature 516: 121–125.Google Scholar
  43. Rutlin, M et al. (2014). The cellular and molecular basis of direction selectivity of a delta-LTMRs. Cell 159: 1640–1651.Google Scholar
  44. Smith, E S and Lewin, G R (2009). Nociceptors: A phylogenetic view. Journal of Comparative Physiology. A, Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology 195: 1089–1106.Google Scholar
  45. Tapper, D N (1965). Stimulus-response relationships in the cutaneous slowly-adapting mechanoreceptor in hairy skin of the cat. Experimental Neurology 13: 364–385.Google Scholar
  46. Treede, R D and Cole, J D (1993). Dissociated secondary hyperalgesia in a subject with a large-fibre sensory neuropathy. Pain 53: 169–174.Google Scholar
  47. Tzima, E et al. (2005). A mechanosensory complex that mediates the endothelial cell response to fluid shear stress. Nature 437: 426–431.Google Scholar
  48. van Keymeulen, A (2009). Epidermal progenitors give rise to Merkel cells during embryonic development and adult homeostasis. Journal of Cell Biology 187: 91–100.Google Scholar
  49. Vrontou, S; Wong, A M; Rau, K K; Koerber, H R and Anderson, D J (2013). Genetic identification of C fibres that detect massage-like stroking of hairy skin in vivo. Nature 493: 669–673.Google Scholar
  50. Wellnitz, S A; Lesniak, D R; Gerling, G J and Lumpkin, E A (2010). The regularity of sustained firing reveals two populations of slowly adapting touch receptors in mouse hairy skin. Journal of Neurophysiology 103: 3378–3388.Google Scholar
  51. Wessberg, J; Olausson, H; Fernstrom, K W and Vallbo, A B (2003). Receptive field properties of unmyelinated tactile afferents in the human skin. Journal of Neurophysiology 89: 1567–1575.Google Scholar
  52. Wetzel, C et al. (2007). A stomatin-domain protein essential for touch sensation in the mouse. Nature 445: 206–209.Google Scholar
  53. Woo, S H et al. (2014). Piezo2 is required for Merkel-cell mechanotransduction. Nature 509: 622–626.Google Scholar
  54. Woodbury, C J and Koerber, H R (2007). Central and peripheral anatomy of slowly adapting type I low-threshold mechanoreceptors innervating trunk skin of neonatal mice. Journal of Comparative Neurology 505: 547–561.Google Scholar
  55. Zheng, Q et al. (2012). Enhanced excitability of small dorsal root ganglion neurons in rats with bone cancer pain. Molecular Pain 8: 24.Google Scholar
  56. Zimmermann, K et al. (2009). Phenotyping sensory nerve endings in vitro in the mouse. Nature Protocols 4: 174–196.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Atlantis Press and the author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yalda Moayedi
    • 1
  • Masashi Nakatani
    • 1
  • Ellen Lumpkin
    • 1
  1. 1.Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations