The evolution of bacterial mechanosensitive channels

Ian R. Booth*, Samantha Miller, Axel Mueller, Laura Lehtovirta-Morley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Mechanosensitive channels are ubiquitous and highly studied. However, the evolution of the bacterial channels remains enigmatic. It can be argued that mechanosensitivity might be a feature of all membrane proteins with some becoming progressively less sensitive to membrane tension over the course of evolution. Bacteria and archaea exhibit two main classes of channels, MscS and MscL. Present day channels suggest that the evolution of MscL may be highly constrained, whereas MscS has undergone elaboration via gene fusion (and potentially gene fission) events to generate a diversity of channel structures. Some of these channel variants are constrained to a small number of genera or species. Some are only found in higher organisms. Only exceptionally have these diverse channels been investigated in any detail. In this review we consider both the processes that might have led to the evolved complexity but also some of the methods exploiting the explosion of genome sequences to understand (and/or track) their distribution. The role of MscS-related channels in calcium-mediated cell biology events is considered. (C) 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-150
Number of pages11
JournalCell Calcium
Issue number3
Early online date25 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015


  • mechanosensitive channels
  • MscS
  • MscL
  • gene synteny
  • potassium channels
  • ammonia-oxidizing archaeon
  • gated sodium-channel
  • escherichia-coli MSCS
  • Francisco Bay Estuary
  • draft genome sequence
  • of-function mutations
  • crystal-structure
  • bacillus-subtilis
  • osmotic downshock
  • potassium channel


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