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Trends Microbiol. 1999 Oct;7(10):420-4.

Bacterial mechanosensitive channels: integrating physiology, structure and function.

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Dept of Physiology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre, Dallas, TX 75235-9040, USA.


When confronted with hypo-osmotic stress, many bacterial species are able rapidly to adapt to the increase in cell turgor pressure by jettisoning cytoplasmic solutes into the medium through membrane-tension-gated channels. Physiological studies have confirmed the importance of these channels in osmoregulation. Mutagenesis of one of these channels, combined with structural information derived from X-ray crystallography, has given the first clues of how a mechanosensitive channel senses and responds to membrane tension.

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