Bacterial mechanosensitive channels: integrating physiology, structure and function

Trends Microbiol. 1999 Oct;7(10):420-4. doi: 10.1016/s0966-842x(99)01594-2.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Electrophysiology
  • Escherichia coli Proteins*
  • Ion Channel Gating / physiology
  • Ion Channels / chemistry*
  • Ion Channels / physiology*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Conformation
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Ion Channels
  • MscL protein, E coli