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Hereditary Xerocytosis, a rare hemolytic anemia, is due to gain of function mutations in PIEZO1, a non-selective cation channel activated by mechanical stress. How these PIEZO1 mutations impair channel function and alter red blood cell (RBC) physiology, is not completely understood. Here, we report the characterization of mutations in the N-terminal part of the protein (V598M, F681S and the double mutation G782S/R808Q), a part of the channel that was subject of many investigations to decipher its role in channel gating. Our data show that the electrophysiological features of these PIEZO1 mutants expressed in HEK293T cells are different from previously characterized PIEZO1 mutations that are located in the pore or at the C-terminal extracellular domain of the protein. Although RBC with PIEZO1 mutations showed a dehydrated phenotype, the activity of V598M, F681S or R808Q in response to stretch was not significantly different from the WT channels. In contrast, the G782S mutant showed larger currents compared to the WT PIEZO1. Interestingly, basal activity of all the mutated channels was not significantly altered at the opposite of what was expected according to the decreased water and cation contents of resting RBC. In addition, the features of mutant PIEZO1 expressed in HEK293 cells do not always correlate with the observation in RBC where PIEZO1 mutations induced a cation leak associated with an increased conductance. Our work emphasizes the role of the membrane environment in PIEZO1 activity and the need to characterize RBC permeability to assess pathogenicity to PIEZO1 mutants associated with erythrocyte diseases.

Original publication




Journal article


Frontiers in Physiology

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