Enhanced Protein in Tendons Found to Boost Physical Ability

Science Society

Tokyo, June 2 (Jiji Press)--A study on mice by Japanese and other researchers has found that physical ability improves significantly when the function of mechanical sensor protein Piezo1 in tendons is enhanced.

The researchers mainly from Tokyo Medical and Dental University and Juntendo University, both of Japan, as well as the Scripps Research Institute of the United States, made the findings by genetically modifying Piezo1 in mouse tendons, according to the study published in the Wednesday edition of the U.S. journal Science Translational Medical.

Tendons, including the Achilles, join muscles to bones. When the function of Piezo1 is enhanced, the Achilles tendon of a mouse becomes thicker and more flexible, allowing the mouse to jump higher and run faster, the research team said.

The Piezo1 membrane protein, which exists on cell surfaces and senses mechanical forces from physical movements, was discovered by professor Ardem Patapoutian of the Scripps Research Institute, a co-winner of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

The team also found that among Jamaican athletes, whose ethnic roots likely can be traced back to West Africa, many have a mutation that enhances the function of Piezo1.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

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