News Releases & Research Results Mechanoreceptor regulates cold tolerance: A novel insight into the mechanism of temperature sensing

News Releases & Research Results


The result of research was led by Professor Atsushi Kuhara, Natsune Takagaki (graduate student), and Research Fellow Akane Ohta of the Graduate School of Natural Science, Konan University.

The key results of research are as follows:

  • It was revealed that a mechanoreceptor (*1), which responds to mechanical stimuli, such as touch, regulates cold tolerance by using a nematode model (C. elegans ).
    *1: A mechanoreceptor is a protein that exists on the skin and nervous system of animals, and functions by receiving mechanical stimuli.
  • Specifically, the authors demonstrated that the mechanoreceptor in the DEG/ENaC protein family (*2) regulates the mechanism which enables C.elegans to adapt to a cold environment. This is the first study to demonstrate in any animal, including humans, that the mechanoreceptor DEG/EnaC is involved in the adaptation of the body to external temperatures.
    *2: DEG/ENaC stands for degenerin/epithelial sodium channel.  It is a mechanoreceptor with a trimer structure that functions by receiving mechanical stimuli.
  • The results of research provide valuable insights to elucidate the mechanisms underlying thermoception in humans and may help to better understand the cause of temperature-related health issues.

This research project was initiated with the support of Advanced Research & Development Programs for Medical Innovation, solo-type (AMED-PRIME) by AMED.

The results of research were published online in EMBO reports, an official journal of the European Molecular Biology Organization, on February 3.


Takagagi N., et al. The mechanoreceptor DEG-1 regulates cold tolerance in Caenorhabditis elegans EMBO reports
DOI: 10.15252/embr.201948671


Last updated 02/04/20