When the c-Maf protein malfunctions, eye cataracts result. The same protein is crucial for vibration-detecting Pacinian corpuscles (shown surrounding a mouse leg bone), which help human palms and fingertips sense high-frequency vibrations.
When it comes to feeling good vibrations, the eyes have it. Experiments in mice and humans show that a protein important for eye development also plays a role in sensing vibrations. An international team has found that mice lacking a protein called c-Maf have deformed Pacinian corpuscles (shown here in a mouse’s leg), the vibration-detectors that surround mouse bones. People have Pacinian corpuscles in their palms and fingertips. When the researchers tested four people with eye cataracts due to malfunctioning c-Maf, those individuals had a hard time detecting high-frequency vibrations, the scientists report online February 16 in Science.