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Science. 1996 Jul 19;273(5273):361-4.

Interaction between a putative mechanosensory membrane channel and a collagen.

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Department of Genetics, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


The degenerin family of proteins in Caenorhabditis elegans is homologous to subunits of the mammalian amiloride-sensitive epithelial sodium channels. Mutations in nematode degenerins cause cell death, probably because of defects in channel function. Genetic evidence was obtained that the unc-105 gene product represents a degenerin homolog affecting C. elegans muscles and that this putative channel interacts with type IV collagen in the extracellular matrix underlying the muscle cell. This interaction may serve as a mechanism of stretch-activated muscle contraction, and this system could provide a molecular model for the activation of mechanosensitive ion channels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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