The discoveries have created a wave of findings about how our environment feels. And 2021 is no exception, as two researchers beat out their close environment for their discoveries about how humans detect by touch. David Julius took half the prize for identifying a protein that allows us to feel the painful heat or chemical mimic of red pepper, and Patabotian's eruption received the other half for understanding what we feel physically.
The fact that TRPV1 is a family of related proteins has been shown to be important, as TRPV1 turns out to be not the end of the story. You can destroy genes in nerve cells, and they can still respond to painful heat. Over time, people have shown that many members of the TRPV family recognize heat and a variety of harmful chemicals. (A mixture of TRPV1, TRPM3, and TRPA1 all appear to be involved.) These proteins also help perceive hot but painless heat with a protein called TRPM8, which senses cold temperatures.
Analysis of how all these proteins provide a clear picture of our environment has kept many labs busy today. But with the initial discovery of TRPV1 protein involvement, the door was opened.
Similarly, we have known for decades that some neurons are sensitive to touch. But we needed Ard Pataputian and members of his lab to understand how these cells do it. And again, this may mean that you have to spend on these operations. Patbutian began by identifying a tangible cell line through a difficult process: He wired the cells with devices that could detect their nerve impulses, and then began to multiply the cells. Most cells do not respond sensitively to other factors. However, in the end, select a cell that fires nerve impulses when pressed. The researchers compiled a complete list of genes active in touch-sensitive cells and compared it to those produced in touch-sensitive cells. This comparison created a list of 72 genes, each of which can be touch-sensing. One by one, the researchers disabled those genes in the touch-sensitive cell line until they discovered a gene that, if disabled, would lose the ability to detect touch.Advertising
It turns out that this gene is not something we've seen before. Many of the proteins that stimulate or transmit nerve signals and ions enter or exit cells have 6 to 12 segments that cross the cell membrane. Patbutian found that the gene he was working on had 38 parts of it. This allowed the gene to deflect the cell membrane into a curved, bowl-shaped depression. Pressure near the membrane flattens the vessel, opening a channel that allows ions to flow into the cell. Together, called PIEZO2, the proteins appear to be essential for tactile sensitivity in vertebrates. (It is strange that organisms such as flies and worms, which have a nervous system and have many characteristics with vertebrates, do not appear to have these genes.)
While the discovery of temperature was very complex. The PIEZO image was complex in the sense that the feeling of pressure was involved in many cases other than touch. Mice lacking the PIEZO2 gene die soon after birth because they lose the ability to determine the extent of emphysema. If the gene is deleted later in life, the animals can suffer from high blood pressure, bladder problems and digestive problems, all because they can no longer determine the stress on their internal organs.
In addition, PIEZO2 appears to be involved in proprioception and the ability to perceive the position and orientation of body parts without looking at them. Therefore, among other things, the loss of gene activity leads to severe problems with balance and movement. Insight into our senses but in this case the pride may be somewhat of a realization of the extent of their initial discovery. The research on TRPV and PIEZO discoveries is extensive and no laboratory can master. The award is also in the field of work - how does the body feel about the world inside and out? - This case attracts a lot of people. In light of this, it should not be surprising that many of the differences between laboratories are based on the two researchers' discoveries, and there are many articles in the field that do not include Julius or Patabutian. This may be an important measure of the importance of this work.
Medical Nobel Prize: Sensation of heat, cold and touch
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