The body contains thousands of receptors and nerves which allow us to experience the sense of touch, also referred to as tactile perception. The somatosensory system allows organisms to perceive and decode a wide range of tactile stimuli to allow for the recognition of objects, ability to discern textures and provide feedback on sensory-motor systems.
PIEZO1, and its close homologue PIEZO2, are mechanosensitive ion channel proteins. Mechanosensitive ion channels couple protein conformation to the mechanics of the surrounding membrane, and switch between a closed state and an open state in response to changes in membrane tension, thickness, or curvature. Cells use this information to ensure viability under conditions of osmotic stress or membrane deformation (1).