Mechanosensitive ion channels, transmembrane proteins that directly couple mechanical stimuli to ion flux, serve to sense and respond to changes in membrane tension in all branches of life. In plants, mechanosensitive channels have been implicated in the perception of important mechanical stimuli such as osmotic pressure, touch, gravity, and pathogenic invasion. Indeed, three established families of plant mechanosensitive ion channels play roles in cell and organelle osmoregulation and root mechanosensing - and it is likely that many other channels and functions await discovery. Inspired by recent discoveries in bacterial and animal systems, we are beginning to establish the conserved and the unique ways in which mechanosensitive channels function in plants.
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