TMEM87a/Elkin1, a component of a novel mechanoelectrical transduction pathway, modulates melanoma adhesion and migration


  • A. Patkunarajah
  • J.H. Stear
  • M. Moroni
  • L. Schroeter
  • J. Blaszkiewicz
  • J.L.E. Tearle
  • C.D. Cox
  • C. Fuerst
  • O. Sanchez-Carranza
  • M.D.A. Ocaña Fernández
  • R. Fleischer
  • M. Eravci
  • C. Weise
  • B. Martinac
  • M. Biro
  • G.R. Lewin
  • K. Poole


  • eLife


  • eLife 9: e53308


  • Mechanoelectrical transduction is a cellular signalling pathway where physical stimuli are converted into electro-chemical signals by mechanically activated ion channels. We describe here the presence of mechanically activated currents in melanoma cells that are dependent on TMEM87a, which we have renamed Elkin1. Heterologous expression of this protein in PIEZO1-deficient cells, that exhibit no baseline mechanosensitivity, is sufficient to reconstitute mechanically activated currents. Melanoma cells lacking functional Elkin1 exhibit defective mechanoelectrical transduction, decreased motility and increased dissociation from organotypic spheroids. By analysing cell adhesion properties, we demonstrate that Elkin1 deletion is associated with increased cell-substrate adhesion and decreased homotypic cell-cell adhesion strength. We therefore conclude that Elkin1 supports a PIEZO1-independent mechanoelectrical transduction pathway and modulates cellular adhesions and regulates melanoma cell migration and cell-cell interactions.