Bacterial mechanosensitive channels: progress towards an understanding of their roles in cell physiology

Ian R. Booth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


Bacterial mechanosensitive channels sense the changes in lateral tension in the bilayer of the cytoplasmic membrane generated by rapid water flow into the cell. Two major structural families are found widely distributed across bacteria and archaea: MscL and MscS. Our understanding of the mechanisms of gating has advanced rapidly through genetic analysis, structural biology and electrophysiology. It is only recently that the analysis of the physiological roles of the channels has kept pace with mechanistic studies. Recent advances have increased our understanding of the role of the channels in preventing structural perturbation during osmotic transitions and its relationship to water flow across the membrane. It is to these recent developments that this review is dedicated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-22
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Microbiology
Early online date6 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


  • Escherichia-Coli
  • osmotic downshock
  • outer-membrane
  • MSCS
  • permeability
  • peptidoglycan
  • adaptation
  • organization
  • microscopy
  • protection

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