PIEZO1 mechanically regulates the antitumour cytotoxicity of T lymphocytes

Ruiyang Pang, Weihao Sun, Yingyun Yang, Dahan Wen, Feng Lin, Dingding Wang, Kailong Li, Ning Zhang, Junbo Liang (Lead / Corresponding author), Chunyang Xiong (Lead / Corresponding author), Yuying Liu (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The killing function of cytotoxic T cells can be enhanced biochemically. Here we show that blocking the mechanical sensor PIEZO1 in T cells strengthens their traction forces and augments their cytotoxicity against tumour cells. By leveraging cytotoxic T cells collected from tumour models in mice and from patients with cancers, we show that PIEZO1 upregulates the transcriptional factor GRHL3, which in turn induces the expression of the E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF114. RNF114 binds to filamentous actin, causing its downregulation and rearrangement, which depresses traction forces in the T cells. In mice with tumours, the injection of cytotoxic T cells collected from the animals and treated with a PIEZO1 antagonist promoted their infiltration into the tumour and attenuated tumour growth. As an immunomechanical regulator, PIEZO1 could be targeted to enhance the outcomes of cancer immunotherapies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNature biomedical engineering
Early online date21 Mar 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Mar 2024


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