Caenorhabditis elegans body wall muscles sense mechanical signals with an amiloride-sensitive cation channel

Zhenzhen Yan, Zexiong Su, Xinran Cheng, Jie Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


C. elegans uses specialized mechanoreceptor neurons to sense various mechanical cues. However, whether other tissues and organs in C. elegans are able to perceive mechanical forces is not clear. In this study, with a whole-cell patch-clamp recording, we show that body wall muscles (BWMs) in C. elegans convert mechanical energy into ionic currents in a cell-autonomous manner. Mechano-gated ion channels in BWMs are blocked in amiloride or cation-free solutions. A further characterization of physiological properties of mechano-gate ion channels in BMWs and a genetic screening show that mechanosensation in BMWs is not dependent on UNC-105 and well-defined mechano-gated ion channels MEC-4 and TRP-4 in C. elegans. Taken together, our results demonstrate that BWMs in C. elegans function as mechanoreceptors to sense mechanical stimuli with an amiloride-sensitive, non-selective cation channel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-587
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jun 2020


  • Body wall muscles
  • C. elegans
  • Mechano-gated ion channel
  • Mechanoreceptor currents

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