Mechanotransduction - a cell's conversion of a mechanical stimulus into an electrical signal - reveals vital features of an organism's environment. From hair cells and skin mechanoreceptors in vertebrates, to bristle receptors in flies and touch receptors in worms, mechanically sensitive cells are essential in the life of an organism. The scarcity of these cells and the uniqueness of their transduction mechanisms have conspired to slow molecular characterization of the ensembles that carry out mechanotransduction. But recent progress in both invertebrates and vertebrates is beginning to reveal the identities of proteins essential for transduction.
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