Non-contact long-range magnetic stimulation of mechanosensitive ion channels in freely moving animals

Jung uk Lee, Wookjin Shin, Yongjun Lim, Jungsil Kim, Woon Ryoung Kim, Heehun Kim, Jae Hyun Lee, Jinwoo Cheon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Among physical stimulation modalities, magnetism has clear advantages, such as deep penetration and untethered interventions in biological subjects. However, some of the working principles and effectiveness of existing magnetic neurostimulation approaches have been challenged, leaving questions to be answered. Here we introduce m-Torquer, a magnetic toolkit that mimics magnetoreception in nature. It comprises a nanoscale magnetic torque actuator and a circular magnet array, which deliver piconewton-scale forces to cells over a working range of ~70 cm. With m-Torquer, stimulation of neurons expressing bona fide mechanosensitive ion channel Piezo1 enables consistent and reproducible neuromodulation in freely moving mice. With its long working distance and cellular targeting capability, m-Torquer provides versatility in its use, which can range from single cells to in vivo systems, with the potential application in large animals such as primates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1029-1036
Number of pages8
JournalNature materials
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jul

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Myc897–Piezo1 (Myc tag at the 897 N-terminal residue of Piezo1) in pcDNA3.1 was kindly provided by A. Patapoutian (The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA). We thank E. Chung, J. Kim, J.-w. Kim, and C. Mikuni for initial help and discussions on this research. This work was supported by the Institute for Basic Science (IBS-R026-D1).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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