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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2005 Aug;15(4):397-405.

Microbial mechanosensation.

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Department of Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA.


Because bacterial mechanosensitive channels have been cloned, purified, crystallized and subjected to a genetic, biochemical and physical scrutiny, they have become the current structural models of mechanosensation to atomic detail. The key observation, supported by recent mutagenesis studies, is that these channels receive stretch force directly through the lipid bilayer at the interface levels bearing highest tension. Indeed, simulations of mechanosensitive channels steered by strategically applied bilayer stretch forces show channel opening. Our understanding of the gating energetics and trajectory are continually being refined by the combination of approaches applied. In addition, new microbial mechanosensitive channels from the TRP family have been characterized in yeasts. Unified by fundamental biophysical principles of gating, mechanosensitive channels provide broad insight into protein-membrane interactions and the role of hydrophobic hydration in gating.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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